directed by John Huston
written by Arthur Miller
Four times a week, the one and only movie house in the small town of Bussum shows a movie. This week was "The Misfits," a name I've heard from my parents.
This black-and-white movie was the last one of Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. Gable never lived to see the movie. Five years later, Montgomery Clift also died, naked in his bed.
At first, I thought "misfits" referred to the three cowboys Gay (Clark Gable), Guido, and Perce (Montgomery Clift) who were a dying breed of the dying American Wild West. But actually "misfits" referred to mustangs that were too small to be tamed and used for riding - and worth only as ground-up dogfood.
Some say it was Monroe's best movie as she was playing herself -- a sensuous but melancholy divorcee whose naivete and charm captured all the men around her. She oozed of sex appeal and feminity. When filming, Marilyn Monroe was often on drugs and forgot her lines.
Some say the real life action acting -- that of Gay fighting to tame the wild horse -- was the cause of Gable's heart attack not long after filming the scene. He did not live to see his only "acknowledged" child born.
Arthur Miller, Monroe's then husband, was writing the script while it was being filmed. Ironically he and Monroe were on the last legs of their marriage as well.
Monroe plays a recent divorcee Roslyn who had come to Reno, Nevada where divorce was quick and easy. There is so much irony and parallels to real life tragedies. Cowboys want to be free but they tie up horses who already run free.
Apparently one of the most expensive black-and-white movies ever made, "The Misfits" is maturing with age, more appreciated today than ever.
5 October 2003 Sunday