Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Honey, we all got to go sometime, reason or no reason. Dyin's as natural as livin'. The man who's too afraid to die is too afraid to live.

No 207 - The Misfits
Director - John Huston

I was tricked. Duped even. I thought the Misfits was going to be a knockabout comedy... My hero Clark Gable and the impossible cartoon of sexiness that is Marilyn Monroe. There would be quips and sparring and maybe some hilarious mistaken identities and farcical moments.


This is a serious film... with a lot of sad faces and a the two aforementioned actors cracking out their last feature length films before they die.

The Misfits is an odd film - as it seems to be one which is structured on disappointment and compromise. Nearly every character is coming out of a relationship - mostly through divorce but a couple are widows and widowers. They're then settling into this harsh cold world and trying to find any comfort to help them through. It isn't pretty. Most of the characters appear to be drunk about 90% of the time. I'd be quite interested in playing a The Misfits Drinking Game - because there is a fair amount of Whiskey getting polished off throughout.

So when a pretty little Widow like Monroe's Roslyn comes into the equation, a fierce competition happens. Everyone vies for her attention. Everyone tries to woo her. Everyone seems to get seriously fucked up when they realise they can't have her.

This is a film in which Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach are constantly backstabbing each other to get (a NEWLY DIVORCED) Marilyn Monroe into bed.... ethics are all over the shop.

The film then takes a strange existential angle. Looking at the value of life, and the way that the world has changed. Clark Gable's beat up old cow boy is tragic, a man who hasn't quite come to grips with how the world has modernised and changed around him. But all 3 men are equally as bad... they're men who's wartime experiences have seen them desensitized to life and death. They're men who refuse to see the way the world changes and who hang on to old values.

Monroe may come off as a bit hysterical throughout the film - but they need that... they need that to realise that times have changed. That you have to work. That the world is cruel. That you can't always get what you want....

Maybe I just watched this film in a glum mood (and I did) hoping to be cheered up... but that's what I got out of it. That life is a challenge, and the truly brave people are the people who rise to that challenge and be the better man.

Then you can be haggard and worn down (and hilariously called Gay) and still sleep with Marilyn Monroe....


doug said...

I think this is my favorite Marilyn film, showing her maybe a little closer to real than the blonde Betty Boop caricature. (It might be that Arthur Miller wrote it rather than a disinterested screenwriter.) I also like the way that the kind-of big personalities of the characters are shown in a real-life proportion - these aren't big save-the-world heroes, but guys who got by in their relatively small endeavors and are their own men and are still reaching for the big score...which gets smaller and smaller. Plus, Thelma Ritter is always worth a look in her character-actress roles, and it's hard to beat that rear-view of MM playing paddle-ball...

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