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While most of Marilyn Monroe's career was built upon light comedy, BUS STOP proved that she was equally capable of handling dramatic roles. With BUS STOP, Marilyn played the least glamorous part of her career, yet her natural luminescence managed to shine through, even when her character was supposed to look bad. It's amazing, even with an unflattering costume and bad makeup- the camera still loved the legendary screen icon.

BUS STOP is based upon the play by William Inge, and although the story has been opened up for the screen, it still feels a bit stage bound. The plot follows a young naive cowboy named Beau Decker (Don Murray) on his first trip to the big city, where he goes so he participate in the rodeo. Beau is traveling with his fatherly older friend Virgil Blessing (Arthur O'Connell), who does his best to keep the wet behind the ears cowpoke out of trouble. Of course, Beau has other plans, which include finding himself an "angel" that he will make his wife. Beau's "angel" turns out to be a lounge singer of questionable talent named Cherie (Marilyn). Cherie is a backwater girl from the Ozarks, who has dreams of making her way to Hollywood. However, Beau has other ideas for Cherie, and he doggedly pursues her in an effort to make her his wife. Although Cherie tries to get away from her lovesick, suitor she finds that there is no escaping from this determined young man in love.

Marilyn is heartbreakingly good as the backwater gal trying to brush the dust from her heels, only to be pursued by a man who wants to drag her back to the same kind of existence. Murray brings the right combination of cocksureness, naiveté and boyish charm to the role of love struck cowboy. Arthur O'Connell was one of those great character actors that always added something special to every film in which he appeared. O'Connell's performance in BUS STOP is understated and heartfelt. Director Joshua Logan does a fine job with the actors, but really can't seem to overcome the staginess of the material, despite outdoor sequences and the use of CinemaScope. The cast of BUS STOP also includes Betty Field, Eileen Heckart, Robert Bray, Hope Lange and Hans Conried.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made BUS STOP available on DVD in a 2.55:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. As with the other films found in Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection, BUS STOP has been given a new high definition transfer directly from recently restored film elements that were prepared specifically for this release. Additionally, the hi-def transfer of BUS STOP was given further digital restoration before being down converted and mastered for DVD. The image is usually very pleasing, appearing very crisp with a solid level of definition. Some shots appear a little soft, but they usually include some form of optical transitions. Colors are stronger than they have appeared in the past, appearing very solid and convincing. Flesh tones generally look natural, although Marilyn's makeup makes her character appear quite pale. Additionally, there are no signs of chroma noise or smearing to mar the presentation. I would imagine the restored color looks a whole lot better here, than it did in the original DeLuxe prints from 1956. Blacks seem solid and the image has a very respectable level of shadow detail, as well as depth. Digital compression artifacts are not a concern on this solidly authored dual layer DVD.

The Dolby Digital 4.0 channel is a direct port of the film's original four channel stereo soundtrack. This older 50's style mix employs directional dialogue across the forward soundstage, which is in direct correlation to the characters’ on screen positioning. Despite the directionality, the dialogue maintains it intelligibility, plus the sound of the actors' voices are not constrain by the older recordings. The four-channel stereo also provides some directionality to the sound effects, including steering some sound and music into the rear channel. For its age and the frequency limitations inherent in the recordings, the music does sound fairly pleasant and creates a nice stereo presence across the forward soundstage. An English surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as is a French monaural track. Subtitles are provided in English and Spanish.

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. As with the other films in Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection, BUS STOP includes a brief split screen segment that shows the film's appearance prior to and after its restoration. Also included on the DVD are theatrical trailers for this film, as well as trailers other Monroe DVD titles. A brief still file of publicity materials serves to fill out the extras.

BUS STOP is a Marilyn Monroe classic that will appeal to her fans, as well as film buffs. The DVD looks and sounds just, making it that they will want to pick up.

BUS STOP is available individually on DVD for $24.98 or as part of the Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection for $99.98.



Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection


Bus Stop

Marilyn Monroe - The Diamond Collection


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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