Misfit Blues: “The Misfits”

I have generally respected, but not liked, the art of playwright Arthur Miller, but the John Huston film The Misfits (1961), for which Miller wrote the script, I neither respect nor like.

Misfitism and disillusionment, femininity in the face of masculinity, amatory competition—these are a few of the themes in this movie which gradually turns into a particularly stupid milksop concoction. And by calling it milksop I am saying it is basically anti-masculine. Miller achieves this through his depiction of the very vulnerable Roslyn, played by his wife, Marilyn Monroe.

Clark Gable is in the film but his performance, for a long time, is mannered, his smiles usually phony. Eli Wallach, however, is incisive. Monroe—gorgeous, of course—goes nowhere fast, and Montgomery Clift is not much better. Not all the peekaboo shots of Monroe’s body are gratuitous, but most of them are. For some reason Monroe thought Miller turned director Huston against her. Maybe he did.

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