AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Bus Stop
Director: Joshua Logan (Dir)
Release Date:   Aug 1956
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 31 Aug 1956
Production Date:   mid-Mar--late May 1956
Duration (in mins):   94-96
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Cast:   Marilyn Monroe (Cherie)  
  And Introducing Don Murray (Beauregard "Bo" Decker)  
    Arthur O'Connell (Virgil)  
    Betty Field (Grace)  
    Eileen Heckart (Vera)  
    Robert Bray (Carl)  
    Hope Lange (Elma)  
    Hans Conreid (Life photographer)  
    Casey Adams (Life reporter)  
    Henry Slate (Manager of nightclub)  
    Terry Kelman (Gerald)  
    Linda Brace (Evelyn)  
    Greta Thyssen (Cover girl)  
    Helen Mayon (Landlady)  
    Lucille Knox (Blonde)  
    Kate MacKenna (Elderly passenger)  
    George Selk (Elderly passenger)  
    Mary Carroll (Cashier)  
    Phil J. Munch (Preacher)  
    Fay L. Ivor (Usher)  
    Richard Culvert Johnson (Messenger)  
    William Schub (Messenger)  
    G. E. "Pete" Logan (Announcer)  
    Wilbur Plaugher (Clown)  
    Buddy Heaton (Clown)  
    Andy Womack (Clown)  
    J. M. Dunlap (Orville)  
    Jim Katugi Noda (Japanese cook)  

Summary: Beauregard "Bo" Decker, a rambunctious young cowboy, leaves his Montana ranch for only the second time in his life to participate in the big rodeo in Phoenix. Bo is accompanied by the more worldly Virgil, who has shepherded him through his first twenty-one years. After boarding the bus bound for Phoenix, Virg offers Bo some fatherly advice about dealing with women. When the inexperienced Bo declares that he is "gonna find me a angel," Virg advises him to settle for a "plain old little girl." As the bus nears Phoenix, Carl, the driver, stops at Grace's Diner for breakfast. As Carl flirts with the tart-tongued Grace, Bo gulps down a quart of milk and three raw hamburgers. When Elma, a young girl who works at Grace's, boards the bus, Virg encourages Bo to court her, but Bo is not interested. In Phoenix, Bo is bowled over by the big city and its teaming masses. Across from their hotel room, Virg spots the alluring Cherie dancing at the Blue Dragon Club. When the club owner insults Cherie by calling her an ignorant hillbilly, Cherie, who aspires to be a great "chantoosie," shows her waitress friend Vera a map featuring a bold red line leading from River Gulch, Cherie's home town in the Ozarks, directly to Hollywood. Soon after, Virg enters the club and Cherie cajoles him into buying her a drink. When Cherie takes the stage to warble a song, Bo bursts into the room and immediately falls in love. Proclaiming that Cherie is his angel, Bo silences the noisy crowd, follows Cherie offstage and then pulls her out the back door. Pronouncing her name "Cherry," Bo performs acrobatics to woo her, and then kisses her. After escorting Cherie back into the club, Bo proudly announces that they are engaged, much to Cherie's surprise. Cherie is dumbstruck by this turn of events, and is accused by Virg of being a cheap hustler. Early the next morning, Bo barges into Cherie's boardinghouse bedroom and, hoping to impress her with his mind, begins to recite the Gettysburg Address. Bo then hauls the sleepy Cherie to the rodeo parade and hoists her up on his shoulders. At the rodeo, Bo wraps Cherie's green scarf around his neck for luck. After winning each event, the boisterous Bo cavorts around the arena, hollering for Cherie. When Cherie, seated in the stands, tells Vera that Bo bought a marriage license and shows her an engagement ring, Vera voices concern. Spotting a preacher waiting ringside, Cherie runs away, sparking rumors about an imminent marriage between the cowboy and the sultry blonde. Back at her boardinghouse, Cherie frets as Vera packs her bags and counsels Cherie to ask for an advance on her salary so that she can make a quick getaway. At the Blue Dragon, Virg informs Cherie that Bo is a virgin who has never even been kissed. Together, Virg and Vera coach Cherie on strategies for handling Bo, but when Bo comes to collect her, Cherie, unable to lie, tells him goodbye forever. The volatile Bo then rips the tail off Cherie's costume, sending her to her dressing room in hysterics. Climbing out the window, Cherie runs to the bus station, but Bo lassoes her and drags her onto the bus bound for Montana. As the bus approaches Grace's Diner, a blizzard closes the roads, forcing the passengers to take shelter in the diner. Cherie leaves the sleeping Bo in the back of the bus, and when he awakens, he barges into the diner and harangues Cherie for leaving him behind. Outraged by Bo's behavior, Carl orders him to desist. When Bo then slings the squealing Cherie over his shoulder, Virg blocks the door and Carl challenges Bo to step outside and slug it out. After Carl soundly thrashes Bo, Virg insists that Bo apologize to everyone that he has offended. The next morning, Bo makes amends to Grace and Elma, and then meekly asks Cherie for her forgiveness and returns her scarf. When she offers him the engagement ring, Bo asks her to keep it. After news comes that the roads have opened, Cherie tries to console Bo by confessing that she was not the angel he believed her to be. As Bo and Virg prepare to board the bus, Bo asks Cherie if he can kiss her goodbye, and after a tender embrace, he runs out of the diner. Bo soon returns and shyly states that Virg has suggested that her experience and his inexperience average out, thus making them the perfect couple. Asserting that he loves her just as she is, Bo asks Cherie to marry him. Cherie, touched by his sweetness, replies that she would follow him anywhere and then throws away her map to Hollywood. Realizing that Bo no longer needs him, Virg decides to remain behind. After Bo tenderly wraps his jacket around Cherie, she drapes her scarf around his neck and he escorts her onto the bus. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Joshua Logan (Dir)
  Ben Kadish (Asst dir)
Producer: Buddy Adler (Prod)
Writer: George Axelrod (Scr)
Photography: Milton Krasner (Dir of photog)
  Charles [G.] Clarke (Addl photog)
Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler (Art dir)
  Mark-Lee Kirk (Art dir)
Film Editor: William Reynolds (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott (Set dec)
  Paul S. Fox (Set dec)
Costumes: Charles LeMaire (Exec ward des)
  Travilla (Cost des)
Music: Alfred Newman (Mus)
  Cyril J. Mockridge (Mus)
  Alfred Newman (Cond)
  Edward B. Powell (Orch)
  Ken Darby (Vocal supv)
Sound: Alfred Bruzlin (Sd)
  Harry M. Leonard (Sd)
Special Effects: Ray Kellogg (Spec photog eff)
Make Up: Ben Nye (Makeup)
  Helen Turpin (Hair styles)
Color Personnel: Leonard Doss (Col consultant)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "The Bus Stop Song," words and music by Ken Darby, sung by The Four Lads; "That Old Black Magic," words and music by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen; "Rye Whiskey," words and music by Tex Ritter.
Composer: Harold Arlen
  Ken Darby
  Johnny Mercer
  Tex Ritter
Source Text: Based on the play Bus Stop by William Inge (New York, 2 Mar 1955).
Authors: William Inge

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 14/8/1956 dd/mm/yyyy LP7347

PCA NO: 18041
Physical Properties: Sd: Westrex Recording System
  col: De Luxe
  Widescreen/ratio: CinemaScope
  Lenses/Prints: lenses by Bausch & Lomb

 
Genre: Romantic comedy
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Abduction
  Buses
  Cowboys
  Friendship
  Maturation
  Rodeos
  Singers
  Transformation
 
Subjects (Minor): Blizzards
  Boardinghouses
  Bus drivers
  Diners (Restaurants)
  The Gettysburg Address
  Nightclubs
  Phoenix (AZ)
  Proposals (Marital)
  Scarves
  Waitresses

Note: This picture marked Marilyn Monroe's return to the screen after a one-year absence. Monroe was dissatisfied with the roles that Twentieth-Century Fox assigned to her, and left Hollywood after completing The Seven Year Itch (see below). Suspended by the studio, she moved to New York where she enrolled in the Actors Studio, under the tutelage of famed acting teachers Lee and Paula Strasberg, according to a Sep 1956 article in Cue . After announcing the formation of Marilyn Monroe Productions, Monroe finally came to terms with Fox when the studio offered her a lucrative contract that granted her approval over directors, according to a May 1956 HR news item. Bus Stop was the first picture of Monroe's new seven-year contract.
       Many of the reviews commented that Monroe's New York experience had greatly improved her acting ability. The HR review noted that her performance had "been augmented by a sensitivity, poignancy and apparent understanding that Miss Monroe did not display before." An Oct 1955 Var news item noted that producer Buddy Adler initially wanted Montgomery Clift to play the role of "Bo." Don Murray made his screen debut in the picture and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Bo. The picture also marked the screen debut of Hope Lange (1931--2003), who married Murray during the film's production.
       Although a HR news item reported that Steffi Sidney was cast as a rodeo fan, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Other HR news items noted that the rodeo sequence was filmed on location in Phoenix, AZ during the JAYCEE World Championship rodeo, and that the exteriors for the diner scenes were shot in Sun Valley, ID. Although a Jul 1956 HR news item stated that dramatist William Inge sued to restrain exhibition of the film until after 1 Dec 1956, when all the first class stage productions of his play would be closed, that suit failed and the film opened in Aug 1956. From 1961 to 1962, ABC television broadcast a television series entitled Bus Stop , loosely based on Inge's play, starring Marilyn Maxwell, Rhodes Reason and Richard Anderson. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   18 Aug 1956.   
Cue   1 Sep 1956.   
Daily Variety   14 Aug 56   p. 3.
Film Daily   15 Aug 56   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Jan 56   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Mar 56   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Mar 56   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Apr 56   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   22 May 56   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   25 May 56   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Jul 56   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Aug 56   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   18 Aug 56   p. 33.
New York Times   31 Aug 56   p. 9.
New York Times   1 Sep 56   p. 19.
Variety   15 Aug 56   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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