When I was in my late teens I went on a Marylin Monroe bender. I saw a lot of her flicks. For whatever reason, Bus Stop wasn’t one of them, I must’ve thought it was a musical. Now I really wonder how my teenaged self would have reacted to it. As I worked on it today I was surprised to find myself cringing in horror. Don Murray’s Bo Decker is a monster–a knuckle-dragging domineering horror show of a man who’s convinced he should be married to Monroe’s Cherie, even though they’ve known each other all of twenty minutes. George Axelrod (adapting William Inge’s play) tries his level best to pull a rabbit out of a hat at the end and give us Bo’s redemption. But man, that’s a big pill to swallow. I don’t know if that has to do with my own changing morals or the changing of the times, but I suspect back in the day I would have bought it.
Today, not so much.
It’s interesting to note that Axelrod fought to keep Murray in the picture because the studio brass felt like I did, that he was too extreme. But Axelrod said he wanted “Attila the Hun.”
And that by God, is what he got.