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Bus Stop

review by Zach B. and Anthony D.


Not Rated

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 105 minutes

Starring Marilyn Monroe, Don Murrary, Arthur O'Connell, Betty Field, Eileen Heckart

Screenplay by George Axelrod

Directed by Joshua Logan

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Lobby Cards, Post Card, Restoration Comparison Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 2.55:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 4.0 Surround, English Stereo, French Mono, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (24 Chapters)

It took the formation of her own production company and a George Axelrod adaptation of a hit Broadway play by William Inge to prove that Marilyn Monroe was an actress to be reckoned with. Following a string of glamorous, if gaudy, turns in several 20th Century Fox B-Movies; not to mention a droll reading with few lines in the classic "All About Eve," Marilyn was desperate to prove that she could ACT. Taking on the role of Cherie, the chantoosie with a heart of gold, in "Bus Stop," Marilyn fills the role with her total being, giving a tour de force performance that once seen is not easily forgotten.

Cherie is the "angel" of rodeo cowboy Beau's (Don Murray's film debut) dreams, unfortunately Beau's dreams about the weaker sense share the same sentiments he shares with the steers he ropes in the rodeo. Bo firmly states that when he finds his "angel," he will rope her and tie her to the ground. Bo, you see, has a terrible habit of over-doing everything: once ensconced in a hotel room in Phoenix (playing home to the Championship Rodeo), he showers while sitting in a bathtub full of bubbles.

Just across the street from the hotel, is the Blue Dragon Restaurant, where "hillbilly" Cherie entertains customers with off-key renditions of popular songs while entertaining dreams of going to Hollywood. Cherie maps her life as a road-map, literally - - carrying a tattered folding map with a straight red line showing her past, present and possible future at Hollywood and Vine. Once her path crosses Beau's, that red line will have to veer. Taking one look at Cherie warbling "That Old Black Magic," Beau knows that Cherie is his "angel," and sets about to rope her, tie her down and marry her.

But there is more to Beau's cowboy swagger and Cherie's tattered ideas of show business than meets the eye. Bo's swagger allows him to make a proposal without ever asking the important question, and Cherie's conception of being a chanteuse is as far from the truth as New York City is from Paris, Fance. It'll take a snowbound diner, far off the beaten track, and an assortment of colorful characters before the swagger and the pipe dreams will be broken, and an evening of laughter and tears before the course of true love can run smooth. Hearts and noses will be broken, egos will be shattered as two people mature before our eyes.

Populated with a magnificent cast of supporting character actors: Arthur O'Connell, Eileen Heckart, Hope Lange, Betty Field and Hans Conreid, "Bus Stop" never shows signs of its stage roots. Director Joshua Logan keeps his Cinemascopic frame active and gets one and half great performances from his two leading actors. Don Murray is just right as Beau, but his performance is better suited to the stage: he's big, he's loud and he's often over the top; on the other hand, his performance is balanced by Marilyn's less-is-more performance. Marilyn's Cherie, complete with honky-tonk angel dialect, gets to run the gamut of emotions, developing a brilliant characterization with each passing frame. It is a performance that was certainly deserving of an Academy Award, which sadly, Marilyn would never win. Anyone who knows only the Marilyn of the fluff pieces, or even through her brilliance in Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot," owe it to themselves to check out her modulated performance in "Bus Stop," for a glimpse of the true actress that Marilyn was capable of being.

Another mistake on the box... it's 2.55:1 anamorphic widescreen, not 1.85:1! Still, it's the transfer that counts and this is a great transfer. It can be soft and a little grainy at times, and the film looks its age at points but this is one fine restoration and Fox has really cleaned it up. There are also blemishes and some lines, but it's nothing too major. A pretty fantastic job by Fox.

The English 4.0 features a surprisingly deep and broad soundstage. Surrounds are packed and the music sounds excellent, this track really lights up the channels and gives off a a pleasant sounding experience everyone should enjoy. Considering this movie is really old, this track really gets the job done and brings a lot of life to the film. Dialogue is clear, crisp and easy to hear. A English stereo and French mono is track is included as well as the assortment of subtitles (English and Spanish) plus English closed captions.

You get the Diamond Collection section (Marilyn trailers in the set) as well as an anamorphic Theatrical Trailer (seems like 2.35:1).

A Post Card still is included as well as Lobby Cards in stills. There's also a pretty spiffy and well-rounded Restoration Comparison with a lot of details about the restoration, so check it out.

"Bus Stop" is another fine film and this is a disc with an above-avergae presentation and decent supplements. Looks like another one for the collection.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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