Saturday, 8 November 2014

Bus Stop (1956)

The 1956 film Bus Stop, is a strange, and often awkward, mixture of genres. It is not a comedy nor a drama yet it has elements of both, it even appears at times to be a musical. This mismatch gives it a peculiar air, only saved by the 'newly reinvented' Marilyn Monroe.

The film follows loud mouthed, brash, insensitive and childish, Bo (Don Murray) a cowhand who whilst competing in a rodeo meets nightclub singer, Cherie. He is smitten and pursues her like he pursues the cattle he ropes. Cherie try's desperately to escape him, but after an embarrassing episode at a bus station in which Bo lassos her she finds herself his captive on a bus back to his ranch.



Bo is incredibly awkward, making the viewer cringe at his lack of tact and his rough handed ways. Every scene is filled with a sense of desperation for Cherie to escape, and at every turn she seems to fail.
There is a sense of dissatisfaction at the end of the film; Bo is finally set straight, but his then repentant attitude wins Cherie over, and they do leave together!
I found it hard to accept, for the whole film all I wanted was for Cherie to be rid of Bo, and when she finally has her chance, he has a complete character change and it becomes romantic.


The saving grace of the film is Marilyn. She had recently been studying with Lee Strasberg, and movie critics where unsure of how she would embrace method acting. She proved her critics wrong; she is tortured, innocent, beguiling and raw. A more intense version of her typical 'dumb blonde' showgirl characters. As Cherie, Marilyn is lost, searching, and her dramatic performance is at odds with the over the top Don Murray. She is incredibly pale, to emphasise the life she leads as a nightclub entertainer, her hair is always messy and she only wears three outfits for the entire film. It was a different Marilyn and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her efforts.


3/5

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