Saturday Night Cinema ♥ : Bus Stop

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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).

BFH writes:

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.

bus stop2

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

  • Underzog

    Incidentally, the latest considered opinion isn’t that Marilyn committed suicide or the Kennedys killed her, but she got mixed up in her sleep medications. The combination of medications made poor Marilyn confused enough that she might have taken more than she thought she did. A very sad accident.

    • Janice

      Very sad indeed. Last nite on the radio, I heard Elton John’s, “Candle in the Wind”, it makes me always think of Marilyn and Dianna. Gone too soon.

    • apichorus

      Fact: it is extraordinarily difficult to commit suicide using pills, sleeping pills or whatever. Valium is the best, but still with 100 valium 10 mg, to be sure, one needs to put plastic bag over head.
      Information from classic text “Final Exit” by Humphry,
      well known, amongst the do it yourself crowd, without a cooperating MD.
      oh and yes, combining with alcohol helps, but is in no way a guarantee,
      and who wants to end up brain dead in coma on tubes,
      Just sayin, that the theory is not very likely.
      LOL, this is one of my various expertises, Pams are a whole lot more wholesome and upbeat, have not seen the movie yet,
      too busy reading Pam’s output, then Robert’s and by 3 AM my time,
      i’m gone. nice try,

      • Underzog

        I saw that on televisions “Notes on an Autopsy.” And while I can’t precisely remember the terms the show stated that Marilyn got confused about the number of pills she took because some of the pills she took led to temporary cognitive impairment. The show stated emphatically that she did not commit suicide and she was not murdered (the Kennedys did it according to rumors or other such nonsense).

        • Underzog

          p.s. “Bustop” is considered by critics to be Marilyn’s best movie. I can see why they think that is so.

  • spacearcadian

    non-halal movie

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Non-halal movies AKBAR!!!

  • eMan14

    Happy Valentine’s Day Pamela. And all the ladies of this blog.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Old Movies are MUCH better than the CGI, guns, explosions, crashes, robots, extraterrestrials, gushing blood, plastic surgery gone horribly bad actors, that make up today’s movies.

  • chris wolf

    This news media has Scalia buried and memorialized forgettably by obama for his “colorful opinions.” obama’s statement Saturday was just what one has come to expect from the mischievous monkey and Satan worshipper who has been running amok in the Presidency for two terms.
    We need to be talking about the CAUSE OF DEATH.

  • Love Marilyn

    Marilyn is one of the biggest legends to come out of Hollywood. Yes, she was absolutely superb and breathtaking.

  • Ron Cole

    Thank you for this special.
    You keep reminding me of how fine old movies are.

  • Gabriel A. King

    A fine classic ! I hope it offends Muslims !

  • knight

    One movie that should be shown is Hitchcock’s 1956 movie, staring James Stewart and Doris Day
    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

    This movies covers a few issues of Islam
    Unmasking Muslim female
    Eating only with right hand.

    I always wonder, if the left hand is basically unclean to eat with, but to wipe ones backside. How can they handle and prepare food.

    In the movie we see James Stewart use both hands to rip the bread apart, then what about the Muslims

    The boy who accidentally unmasks the Muslim woman on the buss would have been beaten to death if it was not for another male on the bus.

  • knight

    If one can also get their hands on a copy of Not Without My Daughter 1991 movie staring Sally Field on the life of Betty Mahmoody

    Based on a real life event of woman marrying a Muslim doctor, who insists her and daughter go to Iraq.

    We see how real life is like for a woman to be beaten, imprisoned in wanting to get out with her daughter

  • chris wolf

    Someone has to tell Jeb Bush nobody is talking about “cut and run” or “steady hand” anymore. We still have a bad case of buyer’s remorse for those cons that family pulled 30 years ago.
    Ok, ok, don’t “cut and run.”
    But by all means, go away.

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