The Misfits is a depressing watch; we witness the lives of four unhappy, disillusioned, individuals in the craggy and bleak expanse of Nevada desert. The method actors – Monroe, Clift and Wallach and classical stalwart Clark Gable assume the roles of Roslyn, Perce, Guido and Gay respectively, with Thelma Ritter acting in the supporting part of Isabelle.
The movie is directed by John Huston and written by Arthur Miller; by the end of the filming, the strained relation between Marilyn and Miller came to an end and the actress succumbed to a nervous breakdown, which is also documented in her biography Life in Pictures, while the alcoholism of Montgomery Clift and director Huston became added setbacks. Watching The Misfits, I constantly pitied Monroe and Clift, especially the lady, because I somehow realized that they were becoming as hopeless as their characters, maybe even worse. I remember thoroughly enjoying 1945s The Lost Weekend, where Ray Milland played a bibulous writer sinking into madness due to his addiction; what made Milland’s performance award-worthy was his well calculated and researched act – he knew exactly how to create his character and draw it out throughout the film. Did we ever fell that Milland himself was an raging alcoholic? No, and that precisely why he was showered with bounteous praise.
When we watch films, not including documentaries, we want to see actors immersing themselves into their characters, feeding, nurturing and developing them in the course of the movie. Documentaries, on the other hand, depict real lives and true emotions which make some hard to watch. The Misfits seems to swing between a film and a documentary, and we don’t get a stable film As a result. Clark Gable himself was glad when shooting completed – he was perhaps one of the few persons who wasn’t at the edge of their lives. His death, however, is extremely ironic.
The plot does not seem to do enough justice to its characters; what I could surmise was that Roslyn’s divorce due to incompatibility and lack of understanding and care on the part of her husband leads to her character searching for a man who could defeat his virile ego and respect her altruistic ideology. But Roslyn seems too much of a basket case herself with Marilyn playing her- the soft focus doesn’t help since it makes her all the most inaccessible. I wouldn’t have married such a woman, despite her beauty and fulsome assets, because appears so disturbed. Guido is unnecessarily antagonized towards the end but more than that, I found the intense focus on capturing Mustangs slightly digressive. The angle did lead to several implications, however it remains unsatisfying.
Although there are well-acted moments and meaningful dialogs and some worthy content as well, the dismal pacing makes The Misfits one of Monroe’s lesser known films.
- 6 Monroe Movies Reviewed: The Princess and The Showgirl (Note: Reviewed About A Year Ago) (sashankkini.wordpress.com)
- 6 Monroe Movies Reviewed – Bus Stop (Note: Reviewed About A Year Ago) (sashankkini.wordpress.com)