With a new book just out detailing the salacious affair between John F, Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, this is a good time to box your compass with the new Bluray release of “Bus Stop” (1956) in order to remember that outside of her troubled personal life and looks, Monroe was not only an incredible movie star, but also a superb actress.
Directed by Joshua Logan, produced by 20th Century-Fox, and based on two plays, “Bus Stop” is about the most bizarre courtship ever put on film. Don Murray plays Beauregard, a 21 year-old Montana cowboy fresh off the bus in small town Arizona to participate in his first rodeo. Beau has never been socialized. And while his heart might be in the right place, his manners veer between obnoxious and appalling; especially when he see something he wants.
And at first sight, Beau wants Cherie (Monroe).
Straight out of the Ozarks, Cherie’s only talent is her looks. But she’s just as lacking in self-awareness as Beau, and has her sights set on a career in Hollywood. Beau, however, won’t take no for an answer. He wants to marry her, even if that means actually roping her like a calf.
From her accent on down, Monroe is simply superb as Cherie. This is full performance that communicates numerous facets of a complicated character. All at once Cherie is funny, sad, desperate, sexy, attractive, attracted, worldly, innocent, and very, very real.
Monroe’s greatest achievement, though, is helping us to forgive the man chasing her. Despite Cherie’s constant protests, Monroe is still able to communicate that deep down inside Cherie wants to be caught. Had Monroe failed at this, “Bus Stop” would be deeply uncomfortable to sit though. Instead the story is moving, funny, and filled with unexpected plot turns.
Filmed in widescreen color and mostly on-location, more than Monroe is a feast for the eyes.
“Bus Stop” is available for sale at Amazon.com.