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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bus Stop (1956)

Star of the month... Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray
(with Eileen Heckart)
'Bus Stop' is a 1956 drama directed by Joshua Logan, and starring Marilyn Monroe, and Don Murray with Arthur O'Connell, Betty Field, Eileen Heckart, Robert Bray and Hope Lange.

It was the first film to be made by Marilyn's production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions.

Don Murray as Bo Decker
Beauregard "Bo" Decker (played by Murray) is an innocent cowboy who eats 3 raw beef patties and an entire bottle of milk for breakfast. Bo and his friend Virgil Blessing (played by O'Connell) take the bus from Montana to Phoenix to attend a rodeo. Whilst in Phoenix, Bo meets and falls madly in love with saloon singer Chérie (played by Monroe). Bo determined to marry Chérie, kidnaps her at the rodeo and puts her on a bus back to Montana. Due to bad weather, the bus stops at a diner owned by Grace (played by Field), where Bo, Cherie, Virgil,  bus driver Carl (played by Bray) and passenger Elma Duckworth (played by Lange) must wait until the snow clears, much to Chérie's disappointment.

Marilyn in a publicity still from the film

Musical highlight

Marilyn finally proves to the world she is more than just a pretty face, and also proves she does have acting talent in her innocent and warm portrayal of a singer travelling across the country to get to Hollywood. We are even treated with a hillbilly accent.

Marilyn Monroe as Chérie sings
"That Old Black Magic"
Although not a musical, Marilyn does sing one song: "That Old Black Magic". Marilyn deliberately provided mediocre singing and dancing skills to reflect the 
little talent of the character. Her 
Golden Globe nominated dramatic 
performance was hailed by critics.

Arthur O'Connell as Verge

Did you know...

  • This was Don Murray's first film
  • This was Hope Lange's first film
  • Co-stars Don Murray and Hope Lange later got married
  • Working title for the film includes: "The Wrong Kind of Girl"

Closing remarks

Betty Field as Grace
Although 'Bus Stop' isn't my favourite Marilyn film, it is very special to me for one reason...

It is the first Marilyn Monroe film I ever saw. I still remember being bored one Saturday night as a child, and after some channel surfing ended up watching 'Bus Stop'. 

I hadn't seen many old movies before, but something about Marilyn and her screen charisma captivated me, and she soon became and still is one of my favourite movie stars.

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