Cinerama: Bus Stop

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama

Bus Stop

By Mike Derderian

Boarding the yellow bus the young man indolently dropped 25 shillings in the toll box, whereas, the sign indistinctly reads 23 fils. “23 for the transportation company and two for the devil,” the young man thought to himself as he filed through the seats.

As he comfortably seated himself next to an open window, allowing the cold gust of wind to caress and sting his reddish cheeks, he couldn’t but notice a teenage couple standing opposite the cracked automated back door.

The boy was leaning protectively, yet passionately, over the girl and appeared as if he was fending off the glances of jealous lonely men, who were gazing in spite—after all she is his sweetheart! People in love tend to stash the sweets they own in fear, as if someone will snatch it right from under their noses.

Suddenly, an angry female voice coming from the back seat of the bus broke the silence that usually accompanies the passengers of the seven-o’clock bus trip. “Ouch! Now why did you do that for, Cherie?” shouted the man, who was rubbing his reddened face in pain, to the blonde beauty sitting next to him.

“I just got to feel that whoever I marry has some real regard for me, aside from all that lovin’ stuff, Bo,” said Cherie before gushing out in tears.

Needles to say the smack made everybody in the bus look back in curiosity at the quarreling couple, except for the indifferent young man, who was preoccupied with his own thoughts. “If you want a brief glimpse of life’s opposites, all you have to do is board the yellow big bus—or was it a yellow submarine?” the young man scribbled over a tissue before throwing it away from the window.

By the way the quarreling couple sitting in the backseat of the bus were non-other than Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray. Based on a play by William Inge Bus Stop was directed by Joshua Logan, who unlike many Hollywood directors did not invest on Monroe’s notorious reputation as a “sex bomb” but instead presented her in a plain, yet complicated, role as Cherie the Chanteuse—arguably her best role ever.

Bus Stop is not your average classic film in the real sense of the word…what’s the real sense then? I don’t know, so why don’t you go find a dictionary. Except for its evident 1950s classic dialogue, when “actors” employed the so-often used tendency back then to over exaggerate both their lines and facial expressions, the film presents us with a very enjoyable and realistic moral message.

Totally void of any soundtrack whatsoever except for the opening theme song and Marilyn’s That old black magic ballad, Bus Stop is a film that will hold your attention with nothing but a dialogue. Even though it is your average cowboy meets a hillbilly plot, where a one-sided love is very tightly and loudly explicit, with Monroe leading the helm nothing can beat that good ol’ charm.

Now, Beauregard ‘Bo’ Decker (Murray) is anything but an urban cowboy—he might be strong like a bull but he is dumber than an jackass—to a degree that he has to be accompanied by his loyal father-like friend Virgil Blessing (Arthur O’Connell) as they go to Phoenix to participate in a rodeo championship.

On their way Virgil tells the twenty-one year old Bo that it is about time that he should learn about women and this where the whole story—er, problem—begins.

During their stay in Phoenix, Bo is instantly love struck by the not so vocal saloon chanteuse Cherie. At first, Cherie finds him charming but she then she realizes that he is nothing but a brute when he suddenly announces to everyone except her that he’s planning to marry her. For lack of space we will continue about Bus Stop and Marilyn Monroe next week with another of her classic films.

Like the candle that embraces fire, knowing still that it will eventually contribute to its melt down Marilyn Monroe embraced the camera, setting million of cinema and television screens across the world afire. Greedy producers mistook her for a sex symbol and by doing so they threw away a side of her personality that will never be seen except in mild outbreaks of light and ingenuity in films like: The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Bus Stop (1956) and The Misfits (1961), while Something Got to Give was never completed.

In Arthur Miller’s autobiography, Timebends: A Life, the renowned playwright, who passed away this week, says that she was rarely taken seriously. “She was like a poetess stranded on the middle of the road trying to recite her work to a crowd that was constantly undressing her.”


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