Bus Stop. 1956. USA. Directed by Joshua Logan. Screenplay by George Axelrod, based on the play by William Inge. With Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, Arthur O’Connell, Betty Field. 35mm. 96 min.
“Marilyn Monroe,” contended Lincoln Kirstein, “was supposed to be a Sex Goddess, but somehow no one, including, or indeed, first of all, herself, ever believed it. Rather, she was a comedienne impersonating the American idea of the Sex Goddess, just as she impersonated Hildegarde, the ‘chantoosie,’ in Bus Stop. When people paid their forty million to see Monroe, it was for an aesthetic performance, not a simple provocation.” Monroe returns, in Bus Stop, to the role of the performer, but here with an added pathos. Cheri, her character, is a singer at a divey Phoenix nightclub, far away from her hometown in the Ozarks, but still not far enough. She dreams of a new life in Hollywood, but her plans are suddenly derailed when the rodeo comes to town, bringing with it a lovestruck cowboy who approaches courtship with the subtlety of a steer roping competition.