Movie Mirrors Index

Bus Stop

(1956 c 95')

En: 7 Ed: 6

George Axelrod adapted William Inge’s play. A young cowboy from a Montana ranch goes with his mentor to the rodeo in Phoenix, where he meets a saloon singer and tells her they are getting married. She does not want to marry him, and he has to learn a gentler approach.

         Bo Decker (Don Murray) practices for the rodeo by getting a calf down in 5.8 seconds. Virgil Blessing (Arthur O’Connell) and Bo are in a jeep on their way to Phoenix. Virgil tells Bo he is 21 years old, and it is time for him to meet a woman. He says his reflexes are good. They get on a bus, and Bo says he plans to win the rodeo. Virgil plays guitar, and they sing about getting married. Bo says he wants an angel, and Virgil warns him about setting his sights too high. Virgil says she may not want him, but Bo expects to take a woman the way he took the steer.

         In the morning Bo does pushups in the aisle. The driver complains he woke up people in the bus. They stop at Grace’s Diner. The driver Carl (Robert Bray) greets Grace (Betty Field) warmly. Bo orders three hamburgers and a quart of milk. Bo drinks the milk out of the bottle and walks out. Grace follows him and complains. Virgil talks to her, and she wishes them luck in the rodeo.

         Pretty Elma Duckworth (Hope Lange) is on the bus and smiles. Virgil and Bo discuss whether she is an angel. Bo and Virgil get off and see a sign for the Phoenix rodeo. Virgil tells Bo to wait when the light is red. In their room Bo takes a bath with the shower on too. Virgil looks out the window and sees Cherie (Marilyn Monroe) at the Blue Dragon next door. He tells Bo he is going over there.

         The boss roughs up Cherie and tells her to put on her costume. Cherie tells Vera (Eileen Heckart) she does not like being called a hillbilly. She shows Vera a map with a line from where she was born in Missouri to Phoenix. Cherie says she won second prize in a talent contest n Lubbock. Cherie says she is going to Hollywood and Vine. The boss comes in and tells them both to come out and serve the customers. Cherie in a sexy outfit asks Virgil to buy her a drink, and she sits down at his table. Bo is combing his hair. Virgil says he bought four whiskies for her, but he discovers she has been drinking tea and gets angry. Cherie sings “That Old Black Magic,” and Bo comes in. Bo whistles to make the audience quiet, and she stops singing. He tells her to go on. She switches on a red light, and Bo shouts. She finishes the song and goes off stage. Bo tells people to yammer, and he introduces himself to Cherie and tells her about what he has on his ranch. He says she is the angel he wants, and he asks her to go outside with him. She is grateful but says she is not allowed to go out with a customer. He says he wants to be in bed by ten. He takes her hand and pulls her outside. She says her name is Cherie. He says his name is Beauregard, and it means “good-looking.” She says he is. She thanks him for making people shut up for her. She admits she was attracted to him, physically. He says he is in good shape for the rodeo and kisses her. She responds, and they kiss again. They go back in, and Bo tells Virgil they are engaged. Cherie says he got the wrong idea, and she keeps correcting him for calling her Cherry. Bo says they will get married tomorrow. Virgil says he doesn’t know anything about her. Virgil says she hustled him for drinks while drinking tea. Bo says angels don’t drink liquor and kisses her. Bo promises her a deep freeze and an electric washer. They leave, and Vera asks Cherie what happened.

         In their room Virgil tells Bo he can practice on this woman but not marry her. Bo does sit-ups and asks Virgil what kind of attractions are there besides physical. Virgil says one may be attracted to one’s mind. Bo says he can recite the Gettysburg Address.

         The next morning Bo is singing and knocks on Cherie’s door. He goes in and tries to wake her. The landlady complains and leaves the door open. Cherie asks what it is. She says she did not get to bed until five. She tells him to get out of there before she calls the police. He says they are going to be going to bed at 7:30. He wants her to go to the parade with him. He speaks the Gettysburg Address, and the landlady warns him he may miss the parade.

         A crowd lines the street and applauds the paraders. Vera meets a reporter (Max Showalter) from Life Magazine. Bo lets Cherie sit on his shoulder so that she can see better. Cherie signals to Vera that Bo is crazy. Vera asks her what she is going to do. Bo asks what they are doing, and Cherie tells Vera to get two tickets to the rodeo. They see Virgil in the parade.

         Vera and Cherie are told that their tickets are for the bleachers. They go to the bleachers and watch cowboys riding broncos. Vera tells Cherie to wake up and watch Bo. He puts Cherie’s green scarf around his neck. He rides successfully and is applauded. He looks at Cherie and shouts, “Yahoo!” Cherie tells Vera that he thinks they are getting married today at the rodeo. She says they got a marriage license. Cherie shows her a ring with a large gem that she says he paid $3 for. Bo ropes a calf and ties it. Vera says the photographer (Hans Conried) from Life is coming, and he takes a picture of Cherie. Bo rides a bull and after a while jumps off on his feet. Vera points out a preacher, and someone brings flowers for the wedding. Cherie asks how to get out of there and is told to go around; but she runs into the ring, and Bo follows her.

         Bo with Virgil is trying to find Cherie, but she hides in her room. Vera packs for her and tells her to go to the club and get an advance. Bo walks with Virgil, and to keep him in the rodeo Virgil promises to find her for him.

         Virgil finds Cherie at work and says he doesn’t want to see them married either. Virgil says Bo never kissed a girl before her. They drink, and Virgil says he promised to keep her there until Bo gets back. He suggests that then she can leave. Bo comes in and says he bought three tickets for a bus tonight to Montana. He tosses an envelope with $4,000 on the table. He says they just need to get Cherie’s things. She says she has to get ready for the show. Bo says she is not doing her show tonight. She says she cannot marry him or go to Montana with him. She walks off, and Bo rips the tail off her costume. She gets angry and stalks out. Vera follows her and locks the door. Cherie goes out the window. Bo breaks in and asks where she went.

         Cherie goes to the bus station and buys a one-way ticket. Bo is carrying a saddle, and Virgil tells him to get someone else. Bo says he will get what he wants, and he ropes her.

         They are on the bus to Helena. Cherie gets her suitcase and asks Elma to help her because she is being kidnapped. She is cold because she does not have much on under her coat. Elma offers to help her change. The driver notices and causes the bus to make her lose her balance. Bo wakes up, and Virgil tells him to leave her alone. Elma asks her if she loves him. Virgil tells Bo that some girls don’t like to be lassoed and dragged on to a bus. Cherie talks to Elma about guys. She says Bo is the first one who wanted to marry her since her cousin Malcolm. Cherie tells what kind of guy she wants.

         The bus travels in heavy snow. Elma tells Cherie that she can sneak off when she gets off. The bus gets stuck near Grace’s Diner. Elma and Cherie go in, and Elma asks Grace to hide Cherie. Grace says the highway is out, and the bus has to stay there. The driver Carl brings in two children. Grace asks about the kidnapping, and the driver says he is asleep on the bus. Cherie asks about the next bus back. Carl asks Grace if he can join her in her apartment; he says he is big and was a wrestling champion. Bo comes in and asks Cherie why she left him. Virgil comes in and closes the door. Bo asks Cherie why she brought her suitcase in. He holds her, and Carl intervenes. Cherie tells him they are not getting married. Bo asks if there is a preacher and picks up Cherie. Virgil refuses to open the door, and he says Bo is not good enough for her. Carl does not like a bully. Virgil says Bo is going to get beat up for once. Carl tells Bo to step outside. Virgil slaps Bo and says the driver will fight for him. Cherie pulls the children away from the window. Cherie sees Bo knocked down and comes outside. The driver gets Bo in a wrestling hold, and Virgil asks him to apologize to everyone. Bo says okay, and he promises to stop molesting the girl. Virgil tells Bo it is all over. Bo says he cannot go in. Inside Carl asks Grace for a cold beer.

         The next day Virgil asks Bo to keep his promise. Bo apologizes to Grace, and she says likes a good fight, and he is welcome there any time. Bo tells Elma he acted like a hoodlum. Bo says he cannot face Cherie because he got beat. Bo says what he did to her was not right, and he asks her to forgive him. She says she has been treated worse. Bo wishes her luck, and he gives her the scarf back. He lets her keep the ring and says goodbye. Grace answers the phone and wakes Carl to tell him the road is clear. Virgil offers to help him with the chains, and they go out. Cherie tells Bo she is not what he thought. She says she had several other boyfriends. She says he is better off. He says she is the first gal for him. He says he did not know anything about women on the ranch, and they are different from men. Carl and Bo shake hands. Bo asks Cherie for permission to kiss her goodbye, and she says she would like that. He says a serious kiss is scary. He kisses her as Virgil plays guitar. Bo tells Cherie that Virgil said their different experience averages out. She asks what he thinks, and Bo says he likes her the way she is. She says that is the sweetest thing anyone ever said to her. Bo says he wishes she were going back to the ranch with him. She says she would go anywhere with him now. They are both happy and embrace. Bo tells Virgil she is going to marry him. Bo says they are going to have an angel on their ranch. Virgil tells Bo he is not going to the ranch. Cherie asks Virgil to come and says she liked him before she liked Bo. Virgil and Bo embrace. Bo takes off his coat and gives it to Cherie to keep her warm. She puts her green scarf around his neck, and he shouts, “Yippee!” He lets her go on the bus before him, and the bus drives off.

         This comedy portrays two people who are very attractive physically; but they are contrasted by their romantic experience. The rough and ready male has to learn to be gentle and sensitive to the feelings of the female. She dreams of being a star in Hollywood, but she is swept off her feet and comes to realize that she likes him.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

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