This film is brilliantly tragic. The cast are superb and an ominous sense of doom surrounds the film, this is implicit in the title and in hindsight, it is also emphasised by the fact that it was to be the last film of the three leading actors, who died after shooting the film. It is particularly touching to see Marilyn in a role where she does not play the pouty, doe eyed bimbo which pursued her throughout her career. Instead Marilyn is a sensitive, troubled soul who finds, in a sense, solace with her fellow "Misfits"- this I also find rather ironic as it is as though the true Marilyn Monroe is revealed. I found this film very humane, and Miller's script is perfect in its grasp of raw humanity.
on 15 June 2006
This is a movie, anyone with a serious interest in cinema should own, especially older cinema. What a rare find. Three excellent actors, all in their last movie. Marilyn and Montgomery are screen-stealing. Marilyn gives what is argued to be her finest dramatic performance, and she sparkles as the troubled, slightly naive but streetwise Roslyn. And yet she still oozes charm in each scene.
Clift and Clarke are wonderful, Clarke giving his usual charming persona another round but more so in a more mature manner. He also does all his own stunts, which considering his age at the time is astounding (they say this later caused stress to his heart, which killed him not too long after-- the more cynical critics would say Marilyn killed him).
It's a slowburner, there's no doubt, but nonetheless it just hypnotises you into watching it. Miller's screenplay is comendable (and one must give kudos to Monroe for not giving off a whiff of the resent she felt at having to play a part she detested, considering it to be an insult, and you can see her point as Miller incorportated some personal things into the script, which any hardcore Monroe fan will no doubt notice).
This movie is just a charmer, it can't be described in any other way. I watch it over and over, and I think any fans of Clift, Monroe and Gable will do so also. See Clarke Gable in his own domaine, Monroe as you've never seen her before, and Clift, well, playing a part that one would think perhaps hit him close to home. Watch out for a great turn in by Thelma Ritter, her usual astute, sharp and always watchable self.
"One of the most important movies of the 1960s"?? ...I should think so. Beautiful acting, beautiful script, and just a beautiful, haunting movie.
on 18 November 2001
Arthur Miller's poignant screenplay written for his then wife, Marilyn Monroe, directed by John Huston, co starring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift seems to sum up the passing of one era and the start of another. Filmed on location in Nevada, July through to November 1960, the film catches the three main characters each at a crossroads in their lives. Monroe and Gable's performances are amongst their finest here, but also their last. The film isn't a laugh a minute but is still thought provoking and points out that for one thing to live another must die. There is a wistful scene where " Guido" (played by Eli Wallach) points up at the night sky and remarks that by the time the light from the stars reaches Earth they have already "died" and if you think most of the players in The Misfits are no longer with us . Go see.
on 25 June 2008
At the time it was being filmed, The Misfits was supposed to be the next great American film. the screen play was written by Pulitzer prize winning Arthur Miller for his wife Marilyn Monroe. It was directed by the legendary John Huston and stared Iconic Hollywood actors Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, and Monroe. For Monroe and Gable it would be there last film. it was received well by critics when it was released but with the public it was a box office failure. America was not ready for a modern western that showed the myth of the cowboy was over and those remaining trying to live by its code were Misfits. Over the years the movie has attained a cult status. A must see for fans of Monroe, Gable, Clift, and Huston and for fans of movie history. The movie heralded a new era in Hollywood. I also have to Recommend Misfits Country for a dramatic look behind the scenes of the making of this movie---a movie within a movie so to speak.
As the story opens, Roslyn (Marilyn Monroe) has just arrived in Reno to get a quickie divorce. She meets Guido (Eli Wallach), a sensitive mechanic and his pal Gay (Clark Gable), an aging cowboy. Both men fall in love with the beautiful, child-like blonde, and she ends up living with Gay in Guido's house. The men take Roslyn out the desert to go "mustangin'," but she's horrified when she learns the purpose of their trip.
This story is about four aimless and rather pathetic people who have nothing to do and no place to do it in. They're just drifting through life and for a short time, they drift together. Gable is outstanding as the rugged old cowpoke who still wants a woman's touch. He takes manly command of every scene and is charisma personified. Wallach's role is less flashy but still powerful and touching. Montgomery Clift plays a rodeo cowboy who's been kicked in the head one too many times. He doesn't get to do much but he's still sweet and likeable. Marilyn is, well, Marilyn, still delivering her lines in that breathy, little-girl voice. Only occasionally does she break through and become a real person; mostly she over-emotes and poses prettily.
Filmed in black and white in a mostly barren desert, the movie is grim and depressing and doesn't let up for a minute. (Animal lovers' note: The "mustangin'" scenes of wild horses being roped and hog-tied are extremely cruel and hard to watch.) I'm glad I got to see Gable and Monroe in their last performances; this is a thoughtful character study of four achingly lonely people.
This film was famously the last by both Gable and Monroe. Gable had a heart attack soon after the film was in the can, so he never got to see the finished article. He would no doubt have been disappointed to find out that it was a box-office disaster. The critics lambasted Arthur Miller's script as being pretentious and disliked it's protest at modern American life. Time has been a kinder judge, and it is now viewed by many critics as a misunderstood classic. Pulitzer prize winner Arthor Miller, who was incidentally married to Monroe, was no mug and neither was veteran director John Huston who seldom made a bad film. Miller's script merely uses cowboys as the metaphor for people who struggle to keep up with the maddening pace of modern life and feel themselves dropped from society. I feel a bit like that myself behind the controls of a computer! Kirk Douglas did the same with his very fine film "Lonely are the Brave" shortly after.
The story has Gable as an aging cowboy who meets a jaded, but still very attractive divorcee played by Marilyn Monroe. They are joined by struggling rodeo star Montgomery Clift and ex World War Two pilot Eli Wallach. All the characters are carrying a lot of baggage around with them. Gable regrets the time he didn't spend with his children who are now grown up. Monroe despairs at her failure to enter into a meaningful relationship. Clift feels rejected by his mother after she re-married. Wallach is scarred by the death of his wife and the bombing raids he made during the war. These relationships form the heart of the film. I was reminded much of the failed characters in Henry King's atmospheric film "The Sun also Rises". The group attempt to round up a group of wild horses which they intend to sell for dog food. The films finest scenes are then played out over the scorched Nevada desert, with Monroe giving a memorable rant amongst the lonely desolation.
Huston must did not make it easy for himself with the casting, which he so often had the uncanny ability of getting right. Everyone in the business knew how exasperating Monroe could be, but he took the risk and was rewarded with one of her more memorable performances. Veteran Gable was his dependable self, although his drunk was not all that convincing. Wallach was showing what a fine late burgeoning film talent he was, whilst Clift whose career was on the wane threw in a believable performance. Astonishing to think that Wallach is still alive and kicking at the grand old age of 95 and has even managed to remain active in the industry. The black and white photography out in the desert by Russell Metty is glorious, and the wranglers clearly knew how to work with horses. Perhaps the script is a little over talky, but even so this is a fine piece of work. There are no extras on this DVD which was of adequate quality. A couple of scenes with close ups of Monroe look blurred, but this was as a result of the unnecessary soft focus popular at the time, so don't be too dismayed. Even slightly flawed this a fitting swansong for two great stars.
on 16 July 2010
Clark Gable, Mongomery Clift and Marilyn - curious combination but it works. With a great script from Arthur Miller, Marilyn's soon-to-be ex, it couldn't fail.
As a historical record of the end of Hollywood and the stars who shone there it cannot to be beaten. The tragic footnote that Gable died even before the film was edited and Clift and Monroe would soon follow him only adds to the pathos of the film.
A tough, poetic and moving masterpiece which undercuts expectations to deliver an experience seldom seen in cinema of that period. Outstanding performances and a highly literate script from Arthur Miller makes the film a truly memorable if painful experience. The blu ray transfer ranges from outstanding in some sequences to blurred and compromised in others although this may be because of inherent problems with the source material. The audio claims to be 2 channel DTS but on my decoder defaulted to a lesser format. The sound levels are low and occasionally the mix seems to prioritise music over dialogue. That said the transfer is adequate if not outstanding. Recommended but be aware the horse sequences would probably never be permitted to be filmed in contemporary cinema as they clearly involved some discomfort to the animals and as such may offend many viewers.
on 31 March 2013
There's something quite magical about this film that goes beyond the beautiful black and white and the story itself. It's impossible to watch this film without thinking about the three stars - Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift. All of them at the end of their lives and each of them so very vulnerable in their own individual way. Monroe feels as fragile and innocently sweet as only she could, Gable appears almost a relic of an era long past and Clift seems almost like a walking open wound. It's a story about an era being over, about feeling lost and without direction, and maybe there were no better actors at the time to convey that emotion so clearly. The end result is painfully beautiful and absolutely worth watching many times over.
on 11 March 2013
...because the two reviewers slating this film can't seem to accept that more people actually just happen to like it than dislike it. They also seem to think that those who enjoyed watching it are too stupid to make their own minds up and are only being swayed into giving positive reviews due to the stellar cast and the fact that four of them were dead before the end of the sixties. They clearly don't care for this film, yet seem bizarrely angry that others do. In my opinion, it's one of my favourite films, not quite top ten material but definitely in my top forty. It is a different film, it's hard to categorise really, but there's just no denying that the incredible cast, location and camera work make it worth watching at least once. It's sad, happy, touching, funny and even upsetting in parts. Arthur Miller wrote the script with his wife's (Marilyn Monroe) upbringing in mind, and when her character Roslyn screams repeatedly at the three men in the desert, you really do feel for her. Montgomery Clift has another uncomfortable phone conversation with his "Ma", there's even a nod to the terrible facial injuries he sustained in his horrific 1956 car accident. Clarke Gable is heartbreaking as his character Gay lurches drunkenly from the bar.... (I won't give away why!) Eli Wallach is excellent at making you like then dislike Guido, and Thelma Ritter is great as always, warm, funny and likeable. Anybody seeing Marilyn's name on the cast list should be aware that this film is nothing like any of her previous films, in which she was wonderful anyway, but here she gets a chance to prove her skill as a true actress, here we see just how great she really was, and realise that she would've gone on to be incredible had she lived. The filming of The Misfits was notoriously fraught with many difficulties, including substance abuse, mental problems, marriage break ups, illness, a two week shut-down due to Marilyn's hospitalisation (some shots of MM seem a little blurry - these were filmed in soft focus after her stay in hospital) and all whilst trying to cope with the sweltering 42° Nevada desert heat. Yet still, I think they did a great job despite all the hurdles. Indeed, Clarke Gable was very proud and considered it to be the best performance of his career.... surely that's recommendation enough?