Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: The Misfits (1961)

Clift, Monroe, and Gable as misfits.

Directed by John Huston
Produced by Frank E. Taylor
Written by Arthur Miller
Starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, and Eli Wallach

Largely remembered for its three ill-fated Hollywood icons, John Huston's drama centers around Roslyn (Monroe) and her relationship with three cowboys: Gay (Gable), Perce (Clift), and Guido (Wallach). She first meets Guido, a former cowboy turned mechanic, with her friend Isabelle (Ritter), who is her witness for a divorce. After she becomes a free woman, the ladies bump into Guido and his friend Gay, an older but not really wiser cowboy. They decide to venture to Guido's house in the Nevada desert, where they drink and dance. Roslyn becomes quite attached to Gay. Later, they pick up Perce, a rodeo cowboy and a friend of the guys. The men agree to catch some mustangs in the desert and sell them for animal food usage. Roslyn objects to the harsh treatment they give the wild horses, and she pleads with the men to free them. Though she is drawn to Gay, Guido attempts to sway her into his arms. In the end, Roslyn and Gay drive off into the darkness, as two stars are extinguished.

This film features great performances from the entire cast, and its no wonder that it is so revered today. As Gay, Gable is adept at being stubborn, tough, and, at times, vulnerable. Monroe delivers one of her finest performances as Roslyn, one full of her usual charm, raw emotion, and fearlessness on screen. Meanwhile, Clift is as subtle as ever, being reckless, amusing, and remorseful as Perce. Wallach and Ritter are also quite good as Guido and Isabelle, respectively. However, the performances are best part of the film. If Gable, Monroe, and Clift hadn't died shortly after it (Gable before the film was even released), then this film probably would not be as lauded as it is now. The chance to see three acting legends on screen is a major selling point, and it is a treat to watch these stars interact. The parts seem tailor-fit for them, but the film wanders and never really finds its stride. Despite this issue, this is still a film that should be seen by movie lovers of all kinds. Classics never die, and these stars live on in this worthy film from classic Hollywood's last breath.

Oscar Tally: None


  1. Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe AND Montgomery Clift? Boy that's just too much eye candy! :)

    1. Isn't it? They're great together in the film.

  2. I have no idea how I managed to never see this film. Then again I only watched High Noon and Shane in the past year.

    Say did you happen to catch this streaming somewhere?

    1. Haha. Don't worry about it. I just saw it, and I just saw Shane for the first time in June.

      No, sorry. I recorded it from TCM on VHS back when Alec Baldwin was still doing The Essentials, and I've only just now gotten around to it.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the follow!