A Few Words About A few words about...™ Bus Stop -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Marilyn Monroe would have been 87 years old, had she survived. Her persona is undiminished. Her work still eminently viewable, with much of it standing the test of time.

    But take a quick look at more numbers, and it will be found that her output of feature films in a starring role, were reasonably minimal.

    Making early appearances in 1947, it really wasn't until her appearance in a small role in All About Eve (1951), that the public (and the studio) seemed to not only take notice, but have some idea what to do with her.

    She appeared in a handful of films with fourth or fifth billing, until Don't Bother to Knock (1952), playing opposite Richard Widmark, and with another nice role in Monkey Business, also 1952, before she received star billing in Henry Hathaway's Niagara in 1953. Niagara and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, were her only Technicolor productions, and they both look superb today.

    Another eight films followed. The final being the incredible The Misfits in 1961.

    That's eleven films with lead roles, upon which a legend has survived. Possibly the only performer with a major following today, and fewer films, might be James Dean.

    After Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and with the exception of Some Like It Hot and The Misfits, every one of her films was shot on the extremely perishable Eastman Color 5248 stock. And all, to one extent or another, have problems today with color fade.

    Bringing back the color to perfect day one standards is generally possible, but an expensive proposition. I mention this because Bus Stop (1956) has arrived with a very nice Blu-ray, but with typical color problems of the era.

    Reds seem to look fine, as do blues. Blacks tend to be a bit weak, and facial tones never seem to be where they should. I'm certain that this isn't because attempts weren't made to solve to problem. But certain problems can't be solved without removing budgetary restraints, and even for a film like Bus Stop, that's not bound to occur, simply because so many other films share the same problems.

    Bus Stop is a wonderful film. If you read contemporary reviews, you'll find that the general sentiment is that Marilyn Monroe proved her acting chops in this film.

    As far as the Blu-ray goes, some color seems quite nice, and I've a feeling whatever problems there are, are on a reel by reel basis. Nothing terribly problematic here. Just don't expect Many-Splendored Thing.

    Image - 3.75

    Audio - 4.5

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
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  2. ajabrams

    ajabrams Second Unit

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  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Prince was in production in 1956, and afaik was shot on Eastman 5248, with dye transfer prints by Tecnicolor.One note re: Bus Stop. Do not view Ms Monroe's pale white makeup as a color problem. Her extremely pale makeup made her teeth photograph as near gray.RAH
     
  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I still think of BUS STOP as a William Inge story, the playwright who also wrote PICNIC (a Twilight Time blu) among others. Thematically the two films have a lot in common, coming out of the same creative mind with the same preoccupations. Marilyn is just one of the actors in it. She's not playing the scene, but I realize that's a moot point.
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    River of No Return is billed in the film as color by Technicolor. Was that just processing of Eastmancolor?
     
  6. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    Print by Technicolor. There were never any 3-strip scope films.
     
  7. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Thanks for the review Robert! I am looking forward to picking this title up!
     
  8. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks, John! One learns something new every day!
     
  9. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    Bus Stop and River of No Return seem to be two of the few movies where you felt like Marilyn actually WAS playing a character in it, and trying to disappear into the role. Most of the "smitten" directors, like Billy Wilder and Howard Hawks, just seemed to put her up on screen for the sake of it.

    The biggest weakness, if any, is that it's just not the most involving or sympathetic love story ever written, which makes it seem like a big, whopping suspension of disbelief at the end when it has to end happily.
    (Ie. "Heheh, bad news, Miss Hathaway, Jethro Clampett says he wants to marry Marilyn Monroe!") ;)
     
  10. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    I've seen the play a couple of times, and the Marilyn character does not jump out of the play quite as much as she does in the film. Marilyn's presence transformed the part into "OMG that's Marilyn Monroe!"
     
  11. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    Shucks...couldn't disagree more. For the longest stretch of my youth, this movie was pinned near the top of my list of all-time fave love stories (to this day, a very short list). There was an earnest 'dreaminess' to the playing by both Monroe and Murray that really got to me...not only hypnotic to watch, but also strangely authentic in terms of the 'interior states' externalized in movie terms.

    Haven't seen this one for a couple of decades though, so I'm very much looking forward to the Blu-ray.
     
  12. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    Jethro's last name is Bodine, not Clampett. Get these important facts straight. :D
     

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