The Misfits Reviews
(1961) The Misfits
(Contains plot spoilers and is quite long)
Very plotless final film for two movie icons of Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe; it appears that it's intentions was to adapt it's storyline around some of it's well known characters, also included Montgomery Cliff, Eli Wallach and Thelma Ritter. People who are familiar with it's leading actors will actually enjoy this film more than viewers who don't know them at all since some of it's storyline may have been improvised. The movie as the title suggests is "The Misfits" it is the slang rustlers use for wild horses and viewers are oblivious about it's title until the last half hour of the film. Anyways, in my opinion the film was mostly adapted around it's actors most effectively on Montgomery Cliff and Marilyn Monroe than other cast mates even though Gable is first billing. As the movie starts out Marilyn as Roslyn whose just settling her divorce- it's her third or fourth one accompanied by Isabelle Steers (Thelma Ritter)whose a witness, and she's seen grumbling to herself about relationships in general which may be a reflection of Marilyn herself in real life. A mechanic is seen below and his name is Guido played by Eli Wallace from "The Good The Bad And The Ugly" who happens to be there, offers her a ride downtown both Roslyn and Isabelle to do some settlements, her ex pleads with her to come back and she does not listen. She does however, go to a bar instead, which is where Guido happen to be at and happens to bring a friend with him and he is "Gay Langland" played by Clark Gable of "Gone With The Wind". Ruslyn is not really interested in Gay per se but does notice his dog waiting for him. Next thing you know, Guido offers Ruslyn a tempory place to settle in which is somewhere along the Nevada desert. They all go there and upon finally reaching there destination, Guido gives Ruslyn a tour around the house which is unfinished. Everybody drinks and they settle down and while Gay's fixing up the place, he notices that some lettuce had been eaten and sets out to kill the rabbit who nibbled on it until Roslyn stops him. There's a pattern here which indicates that Marilyn herself is an animal lover. Nothing happens and they all decide to visit the rodeo. That is when viewers see actor Montgomery Cliff as Perce, the audience sees as well as hear him talking on the phone with his mother, and he is describing the scarring that occured and then got all healed up while a previous accident while particapating in the rodeo- can this be a reflection about the serious automobile accident Montgomery Clift suffered back in 1957 leaving viewers to decide. Anyways, they pick him up and because he loves to drink, they buy him a bottle before they're set out to go again and Gay is drinking as well. By the time they finally reached the rodeo, they greet a lot of friends but in the process of bull riding again while being drunk again Perce gets into some serious injury again- first on the tip of his nose then his head while riding on top of a bull. You know by this time, I remember reading that upon Clift getting into an accident he was drinking and driving at the time- is this a corralation about Clift particating dangerous rodeo while being drunk and at the same time getting into the serious car accident- the audience is left to decide. As the film progresses, we then hear a little more about Eli Wallace's role as Guido who once lost his wife and gets paid shooting bald eagles for cattleman on the desert which are birds that is now being labelled as endangered. And of course Roslyn disapproves, but when it came to rustling up some wild horses, 6 of them for the puropose of selling them as dog food, Marilyn as Roslyn freaks out screaming obsenities "Butchers, murderers" this was her tipping point, if anyone ever want to see Marilyn get this angry before, this is the one to see and it is convincing and perhaps the best acting Marilyn has ever done throughout her entire acting career since she is best known portraying 'blond bimbo' roles I am unable to relate. This is toward the end of the film and viewers now know that this has always been the rustlers livelihood, and they eventually adapt to allow Roslyn get her way.
This film was at times was very hard to watch particularly the beginning and it's center for I had to rewatch the beginning a few times just because I couldn't exactly grasp at director's John Huston's (The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon) intentions. While I appreciate Huston showing us how it used to be back then and allowing his actors for taking a stance on specific things, showcasing their true colors particularly Marilyn Munroe which by watching this film is like an autobiography since she's often playing ditzy roles I'm incapable to relate but in this one she's finally showing a humanistic side, unseen before and that should be acknowledged.
The ironic thing was that it was during the screening of this film which veteran movie actor Montgomery Clift finally took his own life since it may have been too close to home and perhaps couldn't stand seeing a mirror image of himself of what could've been.
3 out of 4 stars