Expertly directed by John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winner Arthur Miller, The Misfits is a probing, exciting drama (The Film Daily) of honesty, intensity and sheer poetic brilliance.... more » Divorced and disillusioned, Roslyn Tabor (Marilyn Monroe) befriends a group of misfits, including an aging cowboy (Clark Gable), a heartbroken mechanic (Eli Wallach) and a worn-out rodeo rider (Montgomery Clift). Through their live-for-the-moment lifestyle, Roslyn experiences her first taste of freedom, exhilaration and passion. But when her innocent idealism clashes with their hard-edged practicality, Roslyn must risk losing their friendship...and the only true love she's ever known.« less
Tiffany A. (Tiffany-Fawn) from SMYER, TX Reviewed on 10/31/2014...
This is a wonderful movie; but I think all of Marilyn Monroe's movies are wonderful! I really liked that she did this one, I feel she was able to show that she was more than just a pretty face and that she didn't just do comedy type movies!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Peter Q. (Petequig) Reviewed on 4/20/2011...
The last Hurrah for a trio of great actors.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jane E. from SHENANDOAH, PA Reviewed on 2/20/2010...
One of the all-time classic greats! Here is the final film for Gable, for Monroe & for Monty Cliff as well as Thelma Ritter; here is great writing & direction; here is a touching tale well acted & photographed. This is not light entertainment - it is a message piece - about true freedom & its savage price in our culture. Sometimes I just want to be entertained, and sometimes I want something more. If I've forgotten all about a film or book the next day or the next week, then it was just light entertainment -- but this is a movie that will stay with me (literally, as I plan to keep it! But I will happily post 4 or 5 other popular flicks next week to take its place).
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Twilight Of The Gods.
F. Gentile | Lake Worth, Florida, United States | 06/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's almost impossible to review this as just a movie, as it is, to movie buffs at least, such a curio piece. As everyone knows, the screenplay, written by Arthur Miller, started out as a tribute to his wife, Marilyn Monroe, but proved to be the death knell for their marriage. Though this looks like a "Western", it is far from it. It is an almost obscene look into the coming together of a group of lost souls who have nothing left to lose. This John Houston film was famously fraught with problems, many related to M.M.'s real life breakdown, and went over budget, and became, at that time, the most expensive black & white film to date, a dubious distinction. That Miller based "Roslyn" on Marilyn is now well known, a portrait at once flattering and brutally honest. If there's any doubt that Roslyn is M.M., watch for the scene when Marilyn opens a locker , in she & Clarks little "love cottage", there are well known glamour pin-ups of the real life Marilyn hung inside, which "Roslyn" refers to as "just some old pictures of me." Also the scene of M.M. & Gable, as they awaken one morning, and she is seen nude from the back, is one Marilyn fought for, wanting her breast, which was visible in the rushes, kept in the final film. This was unheard of at that time, and was cut out of the final print. At the time, M.M. commented: "I love to do things the censors won't pass, after all, what are we here for, just to stand around and let it pass us by?... Gradually, they'll let down the censorship, sadly, probably not in my lifetime ", a prophetic comment from a woman who was ahead of her time. Though she drove John Houston to distraction during the filming, he years later commented: "Marilyn was as fine an actress as any I ever worked with... she just reached down within herself and pulled her own emotions out, it was real." This film , aside from Clark Gable, also stars good M.M. friend Montgomery Clift, another real life misfit, also good M.M. friend Eli Wallach, both fellow alumni of The Actors Studio, and the fabulous Thelma Ritter, who seems to be the only one capable of holding it together. At the films release, during Marilyns now famous scene in the desert, where she lashes out at the brutality of "the men" as they capture a horse for slaughter, apparently many in the theatres laughed out loud at this unacceptable version of their Marilyn, which is very sad. I have always found this scene devestating, and only shows the struggle she had to face, in her attempts to grow as an actress, and not be confined by peoples limited vision of her. Contrary to popular belief, this film was not a total artistic failure, and received many positive reviews at it's opening. The New York Tribune: "Here Miss Monroe is magic but not a living pin-up dangled in skin tight satin, and can anyone deny that in this film, these performers are at their best?" New York Daily News: "Gable has never done anything better on screen, nor has Miss Monroe." The fact that Gable died two weeks after shooting wrapped, and that Marilyn never completed another film, only seals the legend surrounding this films making. In hindsight, it was truly the end of an era. If you want a fascinating read on the making of this film, try and get the long out of print "The Story Of The Misfits", by James Goode. Published in 1963, it's a day by day chronicle of the films making, and, though only a year after M.M.'s tragic death, handles her memory with total respect...the legend had already begun. This sad, but ultimatley hope filled little drama, filmed in the almost lifeless desert, is maybe not for the viewer looking for lots of excitement and action. But if you're a serious viewer who can appreciate brilliantly subtle performances, starring two of filmdoms biggest legends... in a movie steeped in Hollywood folklore, then you'll appreciate this film. How fitting that their final scene has them riding off, heading "for that big star.""
A Lesson In Film
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 08/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This once nearly forgotten movie, the last film of Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe is now coming forward in the lexicon of film history as an underrated gem. Universally misunderstood for the most part at the time it came out it is clear now that this film was at least five of six years ahead of it's time. It fits in more comfortably with films of the late 60's and early 70's.
The screenplay by Miller is one of his most striking works. A story of a group of people lost in the wide expanse of the West in search of the discarded souls of their misspent lives. The film's beautiful cinematography by Russell Metty stands out as superb artistry at the demise of the black and white era. It shimmers with the silver of the deep expanse of the desert and the flat grays and blacks of the distant mountains upon which the last act of the story plays. The music by Alex North is among his best work and gives a savage punch to the aerial scenes and the round up at the end of the wild mustangs. Montgomery Clift, by now sliding into the last years of his life is touching in his performance of Perce. His broken cowboy with the broken heart is almost painful to watch. His phone call home to his mother is among some of his best work. Eli Wallach gives a strong deeply moving portrait of Guido who has lost his wife, his way, and his humanity. He shines in his scene with Monroe where he asks her to save him. When she can't to at least say "Hello Guido".
Thelma Ritter is, well, Thelma Ritter in yet another of her excellent character roles. Ritter is the master of the one line wisecrack but here as Isobel she laces the cracks with an underlying sadness and vulnerability.
As Gay Langland, Clark Gable gives what I consider to be the best performance of his career. It was a brave move for Gable to take on the role of what on the surface seems another one of his typical macho made to fit parts. But as the story unfolds from Arthur Miller's pen Gay reveals that beneath his gruff, not a care in the world, cowboy is a man in deep pain and despair at his losses. The world has left him behind. Abandoned by his children the drunken Gable breaks so violently it is a shock to watch the great man fall. This is Clark Gable at his finest ever.
Marilyn Monroe gives an astounding performance as Roslyn Tabler the newly divorced dancer. A damaged woman who finds in the company of these three men something to finally believe in, something to stand up and fight for, she finds life. It is a performance ground out in part from her own person and experience and in part by the director John Huston and the editor George Tomasini who helped a nearly destroyed Monroe create her stunning Roslyn. This, her last performance is her best and the true example of the collaborative creation that film really is. That Marilyn under the circumstances of her life at that time could be so good is a testament to her talent as an actress and a star. Watch her when she is listening to the other actors. This is where she shines; this is the true mark of a great screen actor. To be able to listen and draw you into the inner life of the character through that deceptively simple act of listening and reaction is her gift to the audience. Her scene with Monty in back of the bar, sitting on a pile of trash, her afore mentioned scene with Eli Wallach in the speeding car. These are but a few of the examples in this film of her great talent. In the 1950's and early 60's there were only a handful of great young actresses in film, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe where at the summit of the small mountain."
Marilyn Monroe delivered a good performance!
Michael C. Smith | 11/10/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE MISFITS is a winner.Despite the fact that it failed at the box-office,and dramatic behind-the-scenes conflicts,this film is a good drama movie. The script of this film was written by Monroe`s then-husband,playwright Arthur Miller,as a "valentine" to her following the sad miscarriage of their child.This time,the Godess plays a role you have never seen her play in her earlier pictures.In THE MISFITS,she`s Roslyn Tabor,a divorcé who joins a group of cowboys.Roslyn was based on Marilyn.One of the cowboys is Gay Laughland,played to perfection by Clark Gable.Gay is a free spirited man who lives life by the minute and nothing gets in his way of pleasure.Also in the gang are two men (Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach)who have hidden pains from their past.The Nevada scenery is breathtaking and the musical score by Alex North is very good.Marilyn Monroe fans should know that this film added many elements from Marilyn`s troubled reality such as references about her mother.In the film,Gay helps Roslyn figure out what demons are killing her and what is she running away from.We can see that Monroe did a good job with this film and fully applied the Strasbergian Method to it`s fullest when it came to inner-examination.This film should please any MM fan,and any moviegoer that enjoys a good piece of drama.This was the last film for two movie stars that offered so much to American cinema:the king and queen of Hollywood(Gable and Monroe)."
Miller's "Annie Hall"?
D. Hartley | Seattle, WA USA | 02/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have always suspected that there was more autobiography in screenwriter Arthur Miller's "gift" to then-wife Marilyn Monroe than even he may have realized at the time. Miller's (typically) depressing assortment of beautiful losers in "The Misfits" is rendered even more poignant by the real-life tragedies unfolding amongst the film's stars (Clark Gable's impending fatal heart attack; Monroe's suicide within a year; and Montgomery Clift's ongoing battles with alcoholism, mental instability and addiction to pain-killers). Morbid as this sounds,these factors probably "helped" Gable, Monroe and Clift to each give some of the most realistic and heartfelt performances of thier careers. Eli Wallach and Thelma Ritter (frequently overlooked for thier contributions to the movie) give equally skilled performances. A bit "stagey" at times, understandable with Miller's theater background. The irony of the movie's final shot, with Gable and Monroe gazing heavenward as they drive toward "that brightest star", is almost unbearably saddening, yet such a perfect swan song for two fine screen actors in (literally) thier final film scene. One of director John Huston's more absorbing dramas."
When a Star Dies, the Sky Weeps
Glenn A. Buttkus | Sumner, WA USA | 10/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director John Huston had the vision, and his images were taunt, stark, choked in white dust, and bathed in high desert darkness. Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay, possibly as a birthday present for his wife, Marilyn Monroe; a panegyric valentine to salve the pain of her recent miscarriage. Regardless, Miller wrote a powerful tale, something trancendent. He was out to slay the myth of the macho western; creating three male characters named Gay, Guido, and Percy; men that bonded, and held their fears at arm's length. These men feared commitment, and they cherished their freedom at the sacrifice of everything and everyone in their wake. In its day, this movie was the most expensive black-and-white film ever produced. Critics praised it and panned it equally, but all of them secretly viewed it countless times. It grows on you; like loving a plain woman. It becomes more beautiful, significant, and sensitive as you get to know it. It is multi-layered, and it was packaged magnificently. Russell Metty's cinematography was brilliant B&W; reminescent of the best of James Wong Howe. Alex North's score was colorful, touching our emotional core like the fluttering of angel's wings one moment, and then jolting us with a bombastic jazzy penetrating throb the next. The cast has been called," Miller's beautiful losers ", and " Huston's heart attack ", and they were both of those things. Clark Gable gave a magnificent performance; sun-creased, visceral, raw, and unfettered. He played Gay, a malcontent that preyed on divorcees and wild mustangs, always looking for that free ride, and expending his entire supply of virility and youth in the process. It is fitting that this performance was the capstone for is career, because with this role he shared secret parts of his persona that previously had been unexplored. Much has been written about Marilyn Monroe's performance. Her dramatic work in BUS STOP, and NIAGARA touched on her potential, but only in this film did she give an indication of her true range. Yet, sadly, it showcased her limitations as an actress as well. The role was written for her, and it fit her like a tight dress. Her " You are only happy when you can watch something die." monologue was bravuro, but forced. She could have used a few more classes at the Actor's Studio. MM's character, Roselyn was beautiful, vulnerable, lost, fragile, yet manipulative....all qualities MM could play in her sleep; but she was also geniune, sweet, loving, and real in a way we had never seen before. The chemistry between herself and Gable was a slow burn, but just rewatch the scene in the morning in Guido's house, observe the smooth sexuality and geniuneness of emotion. MM showed a naked breast in that scene. The censors snipped it, but Huston had filmed it. America was not ready for nudity in 1961, but Marilyn Monroe was. Eli Wallach was a clenched fist as Guido, the tow truck driver, and sometimes pilot. It broke our hearts to watch his ragged yearnings, and to realize that he would never get the girl, and he would never finish building his house. Thelma Ritter was all wisecrack and wit, and deserved her oscar for her supporting role. She was a nice juxtaposition to MM's ice angel. James Barton was a wonderful drunk in the bar scene. Gable should have paid more attention to him. A later scene in which Gable is supposed to be enebriated, calling for his children, is the one false note in his performance. Montgomery Clift as Perce, was one of the walking wounded, banged-up; a bruised soul. Much has been noted about his mental state during the filming, and his medical issues; but somehow Clift made it work for his character. The scene where he lies his head in Roselyn's lap is very touching. His effeminate weakness splashed hard up against the worn leather of Gable's face, and the raw power of Wallach's passion. It was the perfect counterpoint. Nevada's high desert landscape was treated like another character, and filmed like one. We are haunted by images of the horse hunt. A creaky biplane herding them down out of the canyons, and pushing them out onto the salt flats, where the men and ropes waited. Short stocky spirited mustangs, desert horses, galloping hard, breathing their last few gasps of freedom before the men captured them, tied them down to old truck tires; preparing them for their final journey to the slaughter house, ending up as food for poodles and bull dogs.The metaphors and symbols intertwine, men and mustangs, freedom, isolation, lonliness, and desperation. But the sadness permeating the characters within the story, was beautifully balanced out with the gentle stirrings of love. That slim chance that Gay and Roselyn will have a healthy relationship. We want it to happen. We hope it will happen, even though we fear that these character might backslide and pull apart. The fade out is very upbeat; a warm breath expelled with heads tilted up, still searching for truth amongst the stars of a clear desert night sky."