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Musings on The Misfits

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charliechaplinfan
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Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 20th, 2009, 4:29 am

I started watching this movie last night, I didn't finish it but even part the way through it is stuck in my mind like an apparition. I've seen it before, the last time was probably about 5 years ago, recorded off television. This time I watched it on DVD on my new LCD TV. I only mention this because it felt different, very different. For the first time I see the big compliment Arthur Miller was paying Marilyn, writing a film essentially about her and her caring ways with people and animals.

I like the maturer romance that develops, although, she could have been any of the guys girl, she opts for Gay, the older cowboy of the group. Many memorable lines that I do remember.

Before I remember only the romance between Roslyn and Gay. I didn't remember the scene when Gay meets his kids in a bar and he drags Roslyn in to see them (she's outside with Pierce) and they've gone and he's shouting outside for them, that's one powerful scene, as is the one preceding it with Pierce. I never remembered Montgomery Clift's role as being a big part of the movie but that scene between him and Marilyn, it's so lovely. She had cried for him because he was hurt, not understanding the ways of the rodeo rider and Pierce himself is hurting from rejection by his mother and his girlfriend.

That is where I had to stop the movie and go to bed. I've yet to see the rest of it.

It's Gable's last movie and one of his best performances ever, he lives that part. What a professional knowing what he went through during the production.

Marilyn's last completed movie, she's so beautiful, luminous and a better actress than she's given credit for.

It's the last Montgomery Clift film I have seen in his filmography, he's a great actor, I wonder if he did his stunts like Gable did his. Marilyn said he was more mixed up than she was.

Eli Wallach is darn good too, pity he didn't get billing with the others because his part is just as important but that I suppose is Hollywood politics.

The making of the film has gone down in film history, yet, it's not reflected in the performances.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby MissGoddess » October 20th, 2009, 8:41 am

Hi ccfan! You've landed on another of my favorites. :D In fact, this is my third favorite movie of all time, and one that's very resonant to me personally. I think I know every frame of it by heart and have the book and the documentary on the making of the film. Marilyn is luminous and Gable demonstrates that at this stage he was still deepening as an actor. It's tragic they both died so soon after filming.

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby stuart.uk » October 20th, 2009, 9:46 am

Some folk think MM played nothing but air-headed dumb blondes, as like Sugar in Some Like It Hot. I would argue she played bright intelligent women in films like the underrated River Of No Return and The Misfits.

I think this was apparent in the scene with Eli Wallace in the truck, when he tells her he'll stop Gay from selling of the Mustangs for dog food, if she'd only go off with him. She gave him such a tongue lashing, telling him he was only thinking of himself.

I think considering her problems on set MM gives a truly great performance, and if you can forget she dies in about a yr after the film was made, her performance really IMO stands out even more, because Rosalind ends the film full of hope. If anything I think Monty Clift's character really gets close to the knuckle, as he plays a middle-aged cowboy, his body broken after yrs of rodeo riding, reminding me of his near fatal car accident, of which he never recovered from. I sometimes liken Clift's stunt at the end of The Defector, to Gable's in The Misfits and wonder if it contributed to his death as it seemed to do with Clark.

I always believed Gable was in good health when he did that roping stunt in The Misfits, but am now wondering if he had heart problems before making the film.

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby MissGoddess » October 20th, 2009, 10:57 am

Gable trimmed down a lot for the role, perhaps too fast which can add strain to the heart. That combined with his cigarette smoking, the Alkali dust he and other cast and crew were inhaling out on the salt flats (Gable's wife said he'd come home coated with the stuff and his throat raw and horse from it), the heat and the physical exertion were all more than he could take.

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby mrsl » October 20th, 2009, 11:17 am

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Gable was 60 when The Misfits was made, and some of those scenes with the horses were pretty rough, especially when he was trying to keep that one after Monty had cut it loose. If he was really dragged, even a few feet, that is no easy feat. He was never a really trim guy in the first place. He looked really good, but was never a slim fellow. I think he preferred a loose belt to fitted shirts and pants. Not complaining, that's the kind of guy I like.
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MissGoddess
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby MissGoddess » October 20th, 2009, 11:20 am

He's slimmer than I ever saw him since the 40s in The Misfits. He dropped around 20 to 25 lbs for this part and that's not healthy if you do it too quickly. Laird Cregar died because of the same reason, and he was a young man.
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby stuart.uk » October 20th, 2009, 11:30 am

Gable's stunt reminded me of a bulky built actor, of about the same age, with one lung, John Wayne, in The Cowboys. As far as I can tell Duke did his own stunt at the begining of the film when in a coral he held down with rope a wild horse. Of course I might not be %100 right there, but it certainly looked like Duke all the way.

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby MissGoddess » October 20th, 2009, 11:48 am

I think you're right, Stuart. Wayne would do as many of the stunts as he could, sometimes I think he did too much. He couldn't seem to adjust his old hard work ethic to his old, ailing frame.
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby JackFavell » October 20th, 2009, 11:50 am

Though I think it is sad that Gable died right after filming The Misfits, I admire him tremendously for his performance and for never compromising on the stunt work. He was doing a project that really meant something, playing a really profound character in a way that should have made younger audiences sit up and notice. He went in a direction that was very new to him, and he simply nailed it. It's incredible. I cannot think of another actor of his time who could come into a modern film and give what he gave - how he opened up like that coming from his background, I'll never know. But he was fantastic in this film, I think it's his best performance, and he did it the way HE wanted to - doing his own stunts. I hope he was proud of what he did on that film, because he was great, beyond great. He transcended himself.

I wouldn't mind going out the way he did, showing what a great actor he could be.

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby stuart.uk » October 20th, 2009, 12:13 pm

Hi Miss G

What I found funny about Wayne he would be doubled in some fight scenes. yet would do others, sometimes more difficult himself.

I think he was doubled in the famous fight scene in The Spoilers, the saloon fight in The War Wagon and other films, yet he did that demanding fight with Bruce Dern in The Cowboys all by himself. I thought it funny in Chisum he was doubled in part by Chuck Robertson in his climatic fight with Forrest Tucker, because the parts of the stunt he did himself didn't look any easier than the bits Chuck did.

I have said before I thought he was remarkable in 'Katie Elder' as he'd just had his cancer op and as far as I can tell he did most of his own stunts

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 20th, 2009, 2:48 pm

John Wayne did the most of the fight on The Quiet Man but Victor Maclaglen did only a few of the scenes possibly due to the fact he was in his sixties.

Did Gable ever see his finished work? His performance was so profound.

Now I watched some more, I planned to finish it before I picked the kids up from school but some body rang :P they choose their times. I've seen up to the point were Monty and Marilyn drive around releasing the horses and Gable battles with one of them that have been cut lose. It was Monty letting the horses free, that wasn't doubled but THAT WAS GABLE, REALLY doing those scenes. I know they blamed his death on Marilyn because he decided to do those scenes whilst waiting for her, a charge that is a litlle unfair.

It's a pity Marilyn never saw the compliment in the work Arthur Miller had written for her, I read somewhere that she detested the scene were she had to shout that they were murderers, thinking it made her look like a crazy woman. Roslyn was made up of quite a bit of Marilyn, especially the desertion as a child.

Roslyn and Perce are kindred spirits aren't they? He feels her pain, seems to understand it too and is the most uncomfortable and the most willing to back out, he's the one who frees them and not Gable. At points, remember I've not got to the end yet, I think she should abandon both and go with Perce who has less machismo.

It is superb acting all the way through by the four leads, five including Thelma Ritter. No Oscars, it doesn't bear thinking about.

Now I'm desperate to get to the end.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 20th, 2009, 4:01 pm

I've watched the last 5 minutes now. What a mature film, I don't mean that only the mature will appreciate it but that it is mature in how it deals with people and their interconnecting relationships. The romance between Gay and Roslyn is lovely, life hasn't played them a very good hand when it's come to relationships, they realise it and although they are different people, they connect and don't run away from one another when problems arise and both have their problems, they work through it.

The stills of Marilyn on this film do not do her justice, she is gorgeous on celluloid, I don't think there is any actress quite as luminous, soft and feminine as her. She suits the extra curves, makes her more womanly and healthy.

Another myth debunked, Montgomery Clift looked a little different after his accident but in this film he still had it, more so than in some of his earlier portrayals, he just suited the role completely, like it was written for him.

Last word to Arthur Miller, when it comes to American playwrights I've read the complete plays he and Tennessee Williams have ever written, there's something about their stuff I just connect with.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby MikeBSG » October 31st, 2009, 8:44 am

I think the scene in which the guys chase down the mustangs is one of the best action scenes in a Hollywood film.

Also, for all the talk about Marylin Monroe standing over the subway grill in "Seven Year itch," I think the scene with her and the paddle ball in "The Misfits" is far, far sexier.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 31st, 2009, 4:09 pm

I think she's far sexier in The Misfits than in most of her other films, she's almost a product in the starring roles she did in the fifties. I can believe that Roslyn is a real woman and not a creation like Lorelei Lee or the girl in The Seven Year Itch.

I haven't been able to find out very much about the capture of the mustangs in The Misfits. Gable got some mighty fine bruising being pulled along the ground. All I can find out is that all the actors including Marilyn did some of their stunts. Where Gable and Clift really tied onto that truck for some scenes as it careered through the desert?

It's ten days since I watched The Misfits, it's really stayed with me.

This is one movie I would LOVE to see on the big screen.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » November 27th, 2009, 6:40 pm

I'm just rewatching A Place a Sun, much as I like Montgomery Clift, I don't know whether it's just me but I think he's more appealing after his accident, perhaps he was just too perfect looking prior to the accident too unobtainable, he developed more character but in this Wild River and The Misfits he's far more touching and reachable.

The contrast of Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach worked really well. The King representing the old order, courteous and chivalrous but jaded. Eli Wallach's character was the hardest for me to get a handle on. Did Roslyn see him fairly, or did he just represent lots of things she saw as bad about the world? Perce was a man who hadn't really grown up but one with a sense of right and wrong and a fairness. He had given his word about the mustangs but didn't want to go ahead rounding them up, he was the one who set them free before Gay was ready to. Gay's battle with the mustangs and then when he's proven he can do it, his capitualtion, perhaps not the right word for he's a man who knows his own mind and has makes his own decision, it's a powerful moment.

It's just so perfectly cast, amongst other things.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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