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Musings on The Misfits

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MissGoddess
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby MissGoddess » November 27th, 2009, 10:15 pm

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?

I think Rosalyn sensed Guido's pain underneath his anger. She's very motherly with all the men, even the prickly Guido, and when she lights into him in the car for expecting something in return for doing what's right, it's like a Mom chastising a kid. HIs is the hardest character to like because he's full of anger and bitterness. They all handle being adrift and not fitting in anywhere in different ways, which makes the movie endlessly attractive to me.

I'm so glad you enjoy it, too.
:)
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » November 28th, 2009, 11:29 am

I've seen it 4 times I think. It didn't resonate with me when I watched it in my teens and early twenties but watching it now, I thought it was very powerful, for so many reasons. Add to the fact that Marilyn and Clark never made another film and Monty died a few years later.

Thnking of Roslyn as the mother, her 'children' had very different characters, but they all needed love, attention and kindness, only Guido was not soothed by her presence but ruffled by feelings of jealousy and bitterness. She was a potential partner for each of them, she's have made Perce happy, not sure if he could have given her everything she needed but he'd have tried. I think she'd have calmed the bitterness in Guido, I see his bitterness being triggered out of jealousy and disappointment for things that have happened in the past. Gay was the best one for her, he was the most able and willing to care for her in return.

I like Perce though, I can't help it.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby JackFavell » November 28th, 2009, 11:38 am

I have only seen it once, and it impressed the heck out of me. I had always stayed away from it, because I thought it would be hard to watch due to the deaths of those involved in it. But I was completely wrong, it is a great movie, and I think it might even be more meaningful now than when it was made.

Eli Wallach scared me to death right from the start. I was so afraid of him. I thought he was likely to do anything at any moment. Mostly I feared for Roslyn. I was terrified that he might harm her. His anger was lurking below the surface all the time and was tied to his attraction for her. Luckily, the movie did not go in that direction, and in fact, I really enjoyed that it never went in a direction that I could guess at. It is as far from predictable as any movie I have ever seen.

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » December 5th, 2009, 3:23 pm

The only thing predictable about the Misfits is from my preconceptions is that Gable got the girl. The first time I watched it I didn't expect it to go in any other direction becuase Gable was such a big name but watching it again, she could have been swayed by Perce and it wouldn't have diminished Gay, they were well drwn characters. She saw through Guido, thank heavens, although when she first goes to his house with Gay, it could have gone either way.

Did I ever say I love Arthur Miller's work?
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 » March 27th, 2010, 4:12 pm

I was reading excerpts of The Films of Montgomery Clift, I was quite taken aback by how many stunts that were done by Gable and Clift (it doesn't mention Wallach) the ones done by Gable are famous for supposedly contributing to his heart attack days after the filming. Montgomery Clift rode that rodeo steer and roped the the horses many times but noone told him to wear gloves, like regular cowboys would have done, by the time someone noticed Monty's hands were lacerated but he had to go on without gloves because the shots woludn't match otherwise. Who said acting was easy?
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 » September 8th, 2011, 1:05 pm

I came across a book on The Misfits in our library when browsing the catalogue, it's full of shots of the shoot complete with a chronological documentation of the shooting with stories of what went on behind the scenes. The shoot was documented by many of Magnum's top photographers who were present on the shoot for 2 weeks each at a time, this book is full of the well known and lesser known portraits by luminaries like Eve Arnold, Inge Morath, Henri Cartier Bresson, Bruce Davidson and more. So many of the pictures are included here that it's worth taking it out of the library just to peruse the images of Marilyn, Gable and Clift. They tell their own story just by looking at them, like the distance between Miller and Marilyn, even when they're together they're apart, Marilyn's childlike affection for Gable and childlike goofing with Monty. It's a sheer delight for fans of the film. Here's the link

http://www.amazon.com/Misfits-Serge-Tou ... 799&sr=8-1
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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JackFavell
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby JackFavell » September 8th, 2011, 1:50 pm

Alison I seem to remember coming across that book before - the photos are incredible. I also saw some previously unpublished Eve Arnold photos on the Heritage Auction site a few years ago, they might still be in the archive there.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 8th, 2011, 2:09 pm

This film has three of my favourite stars and they fit together so well when really they shouldn't. Plus I just love the story and the backdrop, I'm very fond of The Misfits.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby JackFavell » September 8th, 2011, 2:47 pm

It's a super movie. I like what you said about how well they fit together despite their all being very different types - I guess that's why it's called The Misfits. Huston does a good job of bringing out surprisingly uncharacteristic performances from each of the stars. For me the standout is Gable. He's really incredible.

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby MissGoddess » September 8th, 2011, 6:24 pm

I have that book, it's terrific.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 9th, 2011, 11:00 am

It's interesting to read Arthur Miller's foreword, having never read the original work, his concept was slightly different, he'd envisaged the picture to be more wide open spaces, to show how lost the principals were, they were all lost people with no point to their lives, only Roslyn brought the sunshine. I think the Misfits accomplishes it, for me one of the stand out features is the landscape and locations, so I don't think John Huston was very far off the mark. A film like this could never get made today and the point he photographers make is how generous each of the stars were with their image. They are beautiful pictures in the book.
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 » September 9th, 2011, 11:24 am

I think the movie beautifully conveys Miller's theme.

Before he died, I wrote to him about the movie, as I was working on a screenplay idea similar to The Misfits and he wrote me back an encouraging little note.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 9th, 2011, 2:24 pm

I read Timebends, I really warmed to him, my experience before his biography was descriptions in Marilyn's various bios and depending on who the author of these are a varying opinion of Miller appears. None matched the impression I got of Miller by reading his own biography, this is a man who recognised that he had hurt feelings, his first wife and Marilyn come to mind, His memories and writing of Marilyn are of a man who had been in love and those feelings had never left, they had their bad times, The Misfits coming at this time but after time had passed the bad memories faded and what he loved about her came to the foreground again, he was also painfully honest about her problems. The most moving thing about the Misfits is that Miller had intended it as a gift to his wife after she suffered a miscarriage and during the making of it their marriage came apart at the seams and he lost her. I felt for him.

I've read Miller's plays, I can't decide whether I prefer him or Williams as a playwright, it's enough to say I love them both.

I like Arthur Miller a lot, he often commentated on events and had a reputation towards the end of his life as a sage, at least over here and on the right shows but to many he will always be Marilyn's third husband.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby sandykaypax » August 12th, 2014, 4:09 pm

Sorry to bump up an old thread--I just watched The Misfits for the first time the other day. I have been thinking about it so much. I was so moved by all of the performances. Gable's drunken breakdown as he shouts for his kids, Clift's scene in the phone booth--standouts for their vulnerability. Marilyn Monroe was so REAL throughout the film. I did fast forward a bit when they were rounding up the mustangs--I am sensitive about animals.

The screenplay by Arthur Miller--a love letter to Marilyn.

Eli Wallach and Thelma Ritter--did either of them ever give a bad performance? Superb.

Expertly directed by John Huston.

I wouldn't put this in the Westerns category, however--this is a drama that happens to be set in the West as a metaphor.

Sandy K

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JackFavell
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Re: Musings on The Misfits

Postby JackFavell » August 12th, 2014, 6:47 pm

Sandy K -

So good to see you posting! I stayed away from The Misfits for so long - I was kind of afraid of the movie. I thought that maybe I would see the mark of death upon the cast. I was so wrong! It wowed me. Marilyn gave the performance of a lifetime. She WAS Roslynn. So gentle, so frail and fragile. Funny as well. Too giving. So perceptive it hurts (her). She changes those she comes in contact with. Though it doesn't seem like it at first, I think now that she is the most grounded of all the characters, the most herself. She feels pain intuitively, but can't deal with those who want to wallow in it, or inflict it.

Eli Wallach was incredible, there are moments when I felt his "deadness" as I think Roslynn calls it. I felt anger and lust - for money, for Roslynn, for some bit of power to make him feel like a big man...but it was all revealed slowly, not all at once. There was a huge uncomfortableness underlying the performance - a tautness. He was a man uneasy in his own skin, trying to pretend to be easy. A loser who thought if he could amass wealth or get the best girl he would be a winner. Competitive. Cruel and yet someone you feel kind of sorry for. Neurotic but earthy. A predator in the guise of the prey. A hurt man who turned that hurt on others. I felt that if it came down to it, he would do anything... even something awful... if it meant he could win for once. Wallach took what could have been a coy or simple character and made him complex, ugly and profound. A deeply layered interpretation.

Thelma Ritter was, of course, excellent as usual, lending surface jolliness to the proceedings but also a world weary sadness. Her character is pathetic but doesn't really know she is pathetic. I think this is what I like about the movie, the characters really don't know where they are at. They are all floating in a painful world, dreaming their dreams and thinking they are something they are not. RItter is a comfort and yet her character has been through the mill. Stellar.

But the actor who really blew my mind was Clark Gable. By turns sweet, tough, confused and bemused, Gable breaks away partway through the film and works completely outside his regular style. You expect this type of method performance from Wallach - Gable dug deep to find Gay's inner pain and show it to us, warts and all. It made me love him all the more for the flaws he revealed. I thought him exceedingly brave, especially in that scene where he's trying to get to his kids. It's interesting to me that we want him so badly to understand Roslynn... his opinion matters more to us than anyone else's in the movie, so when he changes, it's a big relief. It's a huge thing for Gay to give up an entire lifetime of dreams to try something new, unknown, for Roslynn. It's a testament to her that he does so. For a brief moment at the end of the film, there is hope where there was none before.


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