I find The Misfits absolutely engrossing. An elegy for the dying days of the Hollywood Golden Age, featuring performers who haunt every frame as their real-life tragedies co-mingle with the overripe screenplay by legendary playwright and at-the-time husband of star Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller. The film documents the last, brilliant performance of the King of Hollywood himself, Clark Gable, who didn’t live long enough to see the final edit, and Marilyn Monroe herself, who only lived long enough to move on to one last unfinished project. Her vulnerability and willingness to strip back the layers of glamour to show the raw humanity beneath are enormously affecting. And their co-star Montgomery Clift, with his virtuosic phone booth monologue as he lays out his entire character’s emotional range in barely a few minutes of screen time, struggled enormously in the few years he had remaining afterwards. I don’t want to sound too ghoulish here – the film is a beautiful, messy and worthy without such morbid fascination. But with it, it’s a striking and unique relic of a strange, sad period.
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