Blu-ray Review: Bus Stop

Taken from the stage play by William Inge, Bus Stop tells the story of Beauregard “Bo” Decker (Don Murray) a back-country cowboy from Montana leaving his ranch for the first time to participate in a phoenix rodeo. Portrayed as a hayseed caricature that makes Gomer Pyle seem smart, Bo is naïve in every way, including “the ways of women.” At 21, he’s only ever met a few, let alone kissed one. Bo’s traveling companion and mentor, Virge (Arthur O’Connell) suggests it’s time for him to start thinking about getting himself a girl. So when Bo and Cherie (Marilyn Monroe) (that’s SHAY-ree, “It’s French”) find each other and she gives him a kiss of encouragement, Bo is hooked. He convinced that she’s the “angel” he’s been looking for and resolves to marry her and take her back to Montana after winning the rodeo.

Of course, Cherie never had any intentions of marrying Bo and attempts to run away. Never one to give up, he finds her, kidnaps her, and forces her onto the bus bound for Montana. Thanks to a road blocked by snow, the bus is forced to stop for the night at Grace’s Diner. Initially, Cherie initially figures to use the stop as an opportunity to escape Bo, the time stranded in the diner changes her mind. Bo realizes that he can’t force someone to love him and Cherie realizes that he has genuine love and affection for her.

Bus StopBus Stop is decidedly syrupy, but it works, largely due to the performance of Marilyn Monroe. She maintains a fairly convincing hillbilly accent and delivers a sweet performance. It’s hard not to think there’s a little bit of Norma Jean Baker in Marilyn’s characterization of Cherie. Don Murray makes an impressive film debut. He was nominated for an Oscar for his over-the-top, yet earnest, performance. The always reliable Arthur O’Connell offers another solid performance, as does Eileen Heckart.  Robert Bray makes his mark as the tough bus driver who backs down from no one, and Betty Field as the café owner Grace has an engaging, no nonsense manner that is very effective.

Framed at 2.55:1 Fox’s 1080p transfer exhibits a nice level of sharpness. While the transfer has perhaps loss some of its Technicolor punch, colors are brighter and more vibrant than any previous SD transfer. Skin tones look natural and contrast exhibits rich black levels. The source is clean and no scratches, specks or dirt are evident.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 sound mix does a fine job of replicating the original 4-track stereo. The score by Cyril J. Mockridge and Alfred Newman sounds wonderful, as do the other musical moments. The four channel separation provides for some depth, making for a solid viewing experience.

English (SDH), Japanese, Spanish, French, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Portuguese and Turkish subtitles are available.

The following special features are available:

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:25)
  •  Marilyn Monroe Trailers (SD, 2:32) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Niagara, River of No Return, The Seven Year Itch, There’s No Business Like Show Business, all of which are now available on Blu-ray.

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