First, I want to thank Big Fur Hat for his lovely acknowledgement of my die-hard cinephilia and my long-running Saturday Night Cinema of the best of the art form (in the public domain).
Not that I’m into sending readers away to another site for hours at a time, but I have to give a nod to my pal Pamela for keeping up with one the most enduring traditions of all the conservative political blogs – her Saturday Night Cinema posts.
Every Saturday night, Pamela runs a film. She’s partial to vintage Film Noir, the more elegant the better. (Elegant Film Noir, there’s a phrase you don’t hear every day.)
In another life, she would be a host on TCM. Her knowledge of movies and movie stars is deep, not just on a trivia level, but in a film school way. Never get her started, unless you love that sort of thing.
How long has she been doing this?
Put it this way- years and years ago, before I ever blogged a day, I stumbled upon the free movies on Atlas Shrugs and used to watch them. I thought of it as a movie site, not so much a political site.
Read the rest here. What a delightful introduction to tonight’s Saturday Night Cinema selection. Yes, I am partial to noir, but I thought we ought get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day. What better way than with Marilyn in William Inge’s romantic comedy-drama, Bus Stop.
Monroe is superb, just delicious as the country girl with big Hollywood aspirations.
This film adaptation of William Inge’s romantic comedy-drama was considered pretty hot stuff in its day, which was 1956. Directed by Joshua Logan from George Axelrod’s script of Inge’s Broadway hit, the film stars Marilyn Monroe as the kind of woman who can’t understand why she always brings out the worst in men. A singer who has attracted the attention of a young rodeo rider (Don Murray) whom she meets on a bus, she finds herself trapped at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere
The NY Times review:
Bus Stop (1956)
The Screen: Marilyn Monroe Arrives; Glitters as Floozie in ‘Bus Stop’ at Roxy
By BOSLEY CROWTHER, NY Times, September 1, 1956
HOLD onto your chairs, everybody, and get set for a rattling surprise. Marilyn Monroe has finally proved herself an actress in “Bus Stop.” She and the picture are swell!
This piece of professional information may seem both implausible and absurd to those who have gauged the lady’s talents by her performances in such films as “Niagara,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and even “The Seven Year Itch,” wherein her magnetism was put forth by other qualities than her histrionic skill. And it may also cause some skepticism on the part of those who saw the play by William Inge, from which the film is lifted, and remember Kim Stanley in the role.
But all you have to do to test our comment is to hoo around to the Roxy, where the film, produced by Twentieth Century-Fox and directed by Joshua Logan, opened yesterday. If you don’t find Miss M. a downright Duse, you’ll find her a dilly, anyhow.
For the striking fact is that Mr. Logan has got her to do a great deal more than wiggle and pout and pop her big eyes and play the synthetic vamp in this film. He has got her to be the beat-up B-girl of Mr. Inge’s play, even down to the Ozark accent and the look of pellagra about her skin.
He has got her to be the tinseled floozie, the semimoronic doll who is found in a Phoenix clip – joint by a cowboy of equally limited brains and is hotly pursued by this suitor to a snowbound bus stop in the Arizona wilds. And, what’s most important, he has got her to light the small flame of dignity that sputters pathetically in this chippie and to make a rather moving sort of her.
This may not sound too stimulating to those who prefer their Miss Monroe looking healthy and without anything flaming inside her, except a mad desire. But don’t think because the little lady creates a real character in this film she or it are lacking in vitality, humor or attractiveness.
Without too much literal attachment to the play of Mr. Inge, Mr. Logan and George Axelrod, the screen-playwright, have started proceedings well in advance of the bus stop where the drama and its strange romance come to a satisfactory head. They have brought their wild cowboy and their floozie together in a two-bit cabaret crowded with rodeo busters and reeking of raw inanity, and they have kept things in that area and on that level for a good part of the film.
This build-up of modern Western background and rodeo atmosphere allows for some lusty observation and ribald humor that is richly realized. With a wondrous new actor named Don Murray playing the stupid, stubborn poke and with the clutter of broncos, blondes and busters beautifully tangled, Mr. Logan has a booming comedy going before he gets to the romance. The flow from the general to the particular of such human ferment is logical and smooth.
A great deal is owed to Mr. Murray. His tempestuous semi-idiocy exploding all around a juvenile softness sets up a mighty force to be curbed by Miss Monroe. And the fact that she fitfully but firmly summons the will and the strength to humble him—to make him say “please,” which is the point of the whole thing—attests to her new acting skill.
There are other fine performances in this picture. Arthur O’Connell is delightful as the cowboy’s pal who big-brothers him with loving patience. Eileen Heckart is droll as the chippie’s friend. Betty Field is robust as the bus-stop owner and Robert Bray is firm as the driver of the bus.
Mr. Logan has ranged from panoramic long shots to smothering close-ups in color and CinemaScope. His imagery is vigorous and audacious, the same as all the rest of his film.
The stage show at the Roxy features Joe Given, comedian, and Manuel Del Toro, Nicky Powers, Peggy Wallace and the Ice Roxyettes and Skating Blades.
BUS STOP, screen play by George Axelrod; based on the play by William Inge; directed by Joshua Logan and produced by Buddy Adler for Twentieth Century-Fox. At the Roxy.
Cherie . . . . . Marilyn Monroe
Bo . . . . . Don Murray
Virgil . . . . . Arthur O’Connell
Grace . . . . . Betty Field
Vera . . . . . Eileen Heckart
Carl . . . . . Robert Bray
Elma . . . . . Hope Lange
Life Photographer . . . . . Hans Conried
Life Reporter . . . . . Casey Adams
Manager of the night club . . . . . Henry Slate