Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
USA, 1956. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by George Axelrod, based on the play by William Inge. Cinematography by Milton R. Krasner. Produced by Buddy Adler. Music by Cyril J. Mockridge, Alfred Newman. Production Design by Mark-Lee Kirk, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Travilla. Film Editing by William Reynolds.
Marilyn Monroe‘s first film after returning from studying at the Actors Studio in New York City was this excellent comedy-drama directed by Joshua Logan. Don Murray gives a great deal of wide-eyed relish to his role as a young rancher from out west who goes to a town for the first time in his life to take part in a local rodeo.
While there he meets a saloon singer (Monroe) with a heart of gold and a checkered past (i.e. she’s probably not a virgin). Ignoring her own objections to their perfect future, Murray insists that she’s the one for him and stops at nothing to force her to come and live with him on his ranch. Getting her to comply, however, amounts to little more than flat-out kidnapping.
Monroe’s performance here is definitely more intuitive than most of her work before it, but sometimes it seems that all she does is rub her hands all over her face to show excessive emotion, almost as if the boost in her training also made her far more self-conscious about behavior that previous to this was magically instinctive.
The script is wonderful, however, and it’s nice to see a movie where the “bad” girl, who usually ends up taking a bullet for her immoral existence, ends up winning the prize (even if it is just a husband and a big house).
Academy Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Don Murray)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Marilyn Monroe)
Venice Film Festival: In Competition