Sometimes It Pays to Take the Bus – Bus Stop (1956)

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The one thing you have to remember when you are watching this movie is that it is quite dated in the ways that men have come to woo women, or vice versa, if you can call it that. If you can do that, you will have an immensely good time watching this and if not, you probably will not like this film overly much. It stars Don Murray as a cowboy from way out in the middle of nowhere who has never been with a woman before, much less dated one or even seen one. To say he has led a sheltered life is one way of putting it, another would be calling it kind of strange. Such as it is, the man he looks up to as a son to a father tells him it is time for him to start settling down and finding himself a wife. So, as they take the bus and head into town for the rodeo which is quite a ways off, Beau, the character Murray portrays, meets Chérie, played by Marilyn Monroe. Right away, Beau knows that he has met his future wife and he is determined to take her home whether she likes it or not.

bus stop67A lot of people might find Beauregard, Beau for short, a little over the top. Maybe even way, way over the top. The man is loud, ignorant, self-absorbed and essentially blind to anyone else around him. That is except for Chérie who he keeps calling Cherry, which in itself is quite hilarious in the way that repetitive comedy is hilarious. When it came to casting for the young and inexperienced bronco-buster, the makers of this film did a great job in finding Don Murray. The man does seem abusive during certain moments and he even kidnaps Chérie a couple of times and there is the fact that he annoys you in every way possible and yet, by the end of the film, you actually come to feel bad for the guy and your whole attitude towards him changes. Murray does a great job in bringing George Axelrod and William Inge’s script to life and making Beau the man that they envisioned him to be. Did he have to be as bad as he seemed? Probably, otherwise this would have been an entirely different movie and not the joy that it turned out to be.

bus stop11The main reason to tune into this film though is Marilyn Monroe. She brings just as much funny to the role of Chérie that Murray does to Beau. This film finds her with an accent and it is nice to see her do something just a little bit different than the norm. She also steps away from the ‘ditzy blonde’ aspect that hounded her throughout most of her career, instead playing a woman who has not had the best that life has to offer, a little jaded yet one who knows what she wants. At first she sees a little something in Beau and then after hearing his plans is scared right off, but with dogged persistence, he wears her down and she realizes that maybe what he offers is exactly what she has always been looking for. Even though the film is a romantic comedy, director Joshua Logan and the producer of the film, Buddy Adler, managed to stick in one real musical number where Monroe sings That Old Black Magic. It is not the greatest performance that we have ever seen Marilyn do, but when you watch that scene, you can tell that it probably was not meant to be. Even so, you find yourself captivated and whether it is because of her costume, her looks or the unique way in which she sings the song, it draws you right in.

One thing that many might cheer for when watching the film is when Robert Bray as the bus driver Carl, fights Beau and gives him a beating, and a well-deserved one for all that he has done. Again, the film is a little dated in a way and even though this moment furthers the story, you cannot help but smile a little as Beau is finally made to realize how horrible he has been. Arthur O’Connell, Betty Field and Eileen Heckart also star and round the film out quite nicely with some solid supporting performances. Bus Stop is a good, funny and enjoyable film. It might not be the kind that would win any awards, though it was nominated for a few, but it is the kind you can put on any time of the day and be thoroughly entertained by.

4 out of 5
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6 replies »

  1. Who wouldn’t want to kidnap the bombshell figure of Marilyn Monroe, who is supremely good here, on her return to film after her Hollywood hiatus, studying ”The Method” at the Actor’s Studio under Lee Strasberg,
    For all its flaws, Bus Stop is certainly a film that makes you think. A film you have to engage with and not just look at.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marilyn Monroe. At a bus stop. That’s the day I torch my car, so I can wait for the bus 😉

    Joking aside, good review. I need to seek this out. Thanks for spotlighting classic cinema here. You have so much dang variety. This place is awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

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