Bus Stop (1956): Marilyn Monroe
Based on the Broadway production written by William Inge, "Bus Stop" is about Bo Decker, an obnoxious and naive cowboy, played by newcomer Don Murray (b. July 31, 1929) who falls in love with Cherie, a lonely cafe singer, played by film sex symbol Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 - August 5, 1962). Convinced that he's in love with singer Cherie mere minutes after meeting her, Bo relentlessly attempts to take her away, against her will, to get married and live with him on his ranch in Montana. Cherie wants nothing of it or of him, but Bo won't take "no" for an answer. By today's standards, this would rightly be called a stalker/bully film, but 1950s audiences likely were more tolerant of women being abducted and manhandled.
Not my favorite Monroe flick, but there are some outstanding moments that make up for the tedious segments. Additionally, several exterior scenes were filmed in Phoenix in my home state of Arizona. So, I'll tolerate Murray's frequent over-the-top acting and Monroe's inconsistent hillbilly accent to watch the 1956 rodeo parade marching past the historic Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix. This was Murray's film debut, and he was nominated for a Golden Globe award for "Best Newcomer." "Bus Stop" also marked the film debut of lovely ingenue actress Hope Lange (November 28, 1933 - December 19, 2003). Lange and Murray met on the "Bus Stop" movie set, and were married from 1956 to 1961.
Trivia about Monroe in "Bus Stop," from IMDb:
In 2011, the costume worn by Marilyn Monroe in her "Black Magic" night club scene sold for $230,000. She had rejected most of the original costume designs by Travilla and rifled through the studio costume department to find things she thought suited the character. The black-lace blouse that she wears in the early scenes was originally worn by Susan Hayward in With a "Song in My Heart" (1952). Joshua Logan recalled how Monroe accepted the studio-designed outfit for her musical number, "That Old Black Magic," but then exclaimed to him, "You and I are going to shred it up, pull out part of the fringe, poke holes in the fishnet stockings, then have 'em darned with big, sprawling darns. Oh, it's gonna be so sorry and pitiful, it'll make you cry!"
Monroe felt that Cherie, although she is a very sexual character, should have a slightly shabby look as a pale and cheaply costumed saloon singer. Working with Milton L. Greene, Joshua Logan and her makeup artist, Allan Snyder, she opted for an almost-white facial and body makeup that made Cherie look washed-out and faintly unhealthy, as if she slept all day and avoided the sun. Hairstylist Helen Turpin changed Monroe's platinum-blonde hair to a subdued honey-blonde that offered more contrast to the white skin. Studio executives thought Marilyn should always be "honey-coloured" all over, but she and Logan stuck to their guns. In subsequent films she would continue to favour a lighter, more luminous makeup even when her hair was once again platinum.
Monroe objected to the natural color of Hope Lange's hair, claiming that it was too fair and detracted from her own. As a result, Lange's hair was darkened.
The film was intended to star Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. However, Col. Parker's influence prevented this from happening.
According to George Axelrod, when going up in her lines, Marilyn Monroe wouldn't improvise her way around them but would become emotional and leave the set. "She had reached a point in her neurosis where if anybody said, 'Cut!' she took it as an affront, burst into tears and ran to her dressing room. So 'Joshua Logan' stopped using the word and simply let the cameras run while he talked her back into the scene, with dialogue director Joe Curtis feeding Monroe her lines. "He was a huge man, Josh," Axelrod recalled, "so most of the time the screen was filled with Josh's behind and Marilyn's face, with this voice coming from the sky reading the lines that Marilyn would parrot."
Special problems were created in a scene on the bus, with Cherie pouring her heart out to Elma as rear projection creates the illusion of a moving landscape. It took four days to shoot this scene, but George Axelrod said it "cut together like a dream," partly because Lange behaved so professionally and was always prepared for a reaction shot that could cover Marilyn Monroe's lapses. "Little pieces of what Marilyn would do were inspired, magical, but interspersed with tears and "Oh, ----!" and "What the ----!" and getting her back together - all of it with the camera running because you couldn't say cut. God, the goings-on!" Joshua Logan recalled, however, how brilliant Monroe was in the sequence, so involved with the emotions of her character that her skin visibly flushed and she shed real tears. As it turned out, much of this sequence was cut from the final film, deleting what Monroe felt were some of her best acting moments. She never quite forgave Logan or the studio for the cuts.
Fair Use Doctrine; if you use this photo, please provide attribution credit; not for commercial use (see Creative Commons license).