The Misfits

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The legacy of Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable is such that they could have started a new movie industry, between themselves, if they had to. Monroe’s sex appeal, and Gable’s charismatic acting, is the stuff that legends are made of; and what better cinematic experience but to watch them act together, in the John Huston directed The Misfits!

 License     Attribution Some rights reserved by Abee5

Marlyin Monroe Attribution Some rights reserved by Abee5

The swan song of Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, The Misfits haunts the viewer as a delectable multi-faceted take not only on the lives of the main cast and the wild mustangs the men desire to hunt and quarrel over, but also on the demise of the ‘American Dream’.

The main cast throughout the movie appears to sport a flawed mental outlook; intent on loving-yet-torturing-each-other image they prize until two lead characters Marilyn and Gable see promise of settling down in the love-care-concern cocoon they have come to visualize in their togetherness.

A beautiful and sexy divorcee, Roslyn Tabor [Monroe] storms into the life of the graceful yet aging cowboy Gay Langland [Gable] and turns his notion of an independent, untrammeled lifestyle topsy-turvy. But like a fly, that intent on free wanderings but gets caught in the spider’s web, the cast in The Misfits gets trapped in their own love-lust-ego induced mental frame while their actions and moods swing between happiness and sadness.

Along with her friend Isabelle Steers [Thelma Ritter] Roslyn is invited by Guido [Eli Wallach] and Gay to the former’s country house. The house is unfinished because before it could be given final shape Guido’s wife had died during childbirth.

Here the audience is regaled with juicy scenes of wining and dining until Roslyn gets so overdrunk that Gay has to drive her back home. Soon Gay and Roslyn move in together to live in Guido’s house.
The task of finishing the house and turning it into a ‘home’ falls on the willing shoulders of Gay who is getting attracted to Roslyn and laments to her that he himself could not be a more caring father to his children whom he hasn’t seen in years. In-fact, finally when Gay accidentally meets his children and requests them to wait for him as he fetches Roslyn but the children choose to go away without awaiting their father, the audience is really charged by the intensity of a father’s emotions and his feelings of dismay and pathos brilliantly acted out by Gay.

Roslyn’s superb acting too rises above the dumb-blonde-tag, especially in scenes when her hysterics rise above the banal as the men talk of capturing and selling the free roaming horses for dog food or when she witnesses Perce Howland [Montgomery Cliff], a friend of Gay participating in rodeo sport.

The chemistry between Gay and Roslyn comes vividly alive when after putting an injured Perce to bed, there follows an unusual proposal of marriage – whether Roslyn would like to have children from Gay?

Entrapped in her own psyche, Roslyn’s performance rises to new heights when, though tight-lipped at the time of Gay’s unusually romantic proposal, she chooses to be driven off by Gay as the twinkling stars get privy to her answering in the affirmative.

The Misfits may not be their best individual performances, but together they do light the screen on fire. Their brilliant chemistry, aided by Arthur Miller’s screenplay and the co-stars’ decent enough acting, makes this movie not to be missed.

Rating 2.5/5

Pubic Relations Strategist, Movie Critic and Freelance Contributor at local Sydney Media Outlets and Sydney Editor at Student View.

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