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The Misfits

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John Huston’s modern dress western was a troubled shoot, best remembered for ringing down the curtain on Hollywood’s reigning King and Queen, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. Knowing what we do going in can’t help but contribute to the film’s prevailing status as consummate downer. MM stars as the disillusioned divorcee who goes to pieces at the thought of wild horses being roped, killed, and turned into dog food. Adding to the anguish is king neurotic Montgomery Clift, superb in the role of a rodeo cowboy set opposite Gable’s weathered cow-oldster. Screenwriter Arthur Miller’s marriage to Monroe was in a constant state of dissolution, which may explain the regular revisions the script underwent. “Emotionally troubled” is a sobriquet that followed Montgomery Clift as closely as “gamine” did Audrey Hepburn. Legend has it that the fatherly attention Huston lavished upon Clift during the making of The Misfits was matched by the sadism the director displayed during the making of their followup picture, Freud. On the bright side, Miller penned juicy character parts for Eli Wallach and the matchless Thelma Ritter. (1961) — Scott Marks

Rated NR | 2 hours, 4 minutes
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