The Misfits (film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Misfits is a 1961 American drama film written by Arthur Miller, directed by John Huston, and starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, and Eli Wallach. It was the final film appearance for both Gable and Monroe. It was not a commercial success at the time of its release, but it garnered critical respect for its script and performances.



The Misfits takes place in Reno, and depicts the chance meeting and friendship of a depressed divorcée, Roslyn Taber (Monroe), and Gay Langland (Gable), an aging ex-cowboy prone to gambling, who survives by rounding up and catching mustangs. These had once been sold as horses for children, but now the only market is selling them to slaughterhouses for the manufacture of dog food. Wallach plays Guido, Langland's pilot partner, and Clift plays Perce Howland, a drifter rodeo rider.

Principal cast

Other Cast


The making of The Misfits was troublesome on several accounts, not the least of which were the heat of the northern Nevada desert and breakdown of Monroe's marriage to writer Arthur Miller.

Director Huston gambled and drank, and occasionally fell asleep on the set. The production company had to cover some of his gambling losses. His lover Marietta Peabody Tree had an uncredited part. Miller wrote new pages throughout the shoot, revising the script as the concepts of the film developed.

Monroe was sinking further into alcohol and prescription drugs. Huston shut down production in August 1960 to send Monroe to a hospital for detox. Close-ups after her release were shot using soft focus. Monroe was nearly always late to the set, sometimes not showing up at all. She spent her nights learning lines with drama coach Paula Strasberg. Monroe's confidant and masseur, Ralph Roberts, was cast as an ambulance attendant in the film's rodeo scene.

Gable insisted on doing his own stunts, including being dragged about 400 feet across the dry lake bed at more than 30 miles per hour.

In a documentary about the making of The Misfits, Wallach told a story of Huston directing a scene where Wallach was at a bar with Gable. Huston told him that the most intoxicated he had ever been was the day before, even though he had seemed sober. The lesson for the actors was that an intoxicated person tries to act sober.

1930's Western actor Rex Bell (who was married to Clara Bow) made his final film appearance in a brief cameo as a cowboy. Bell was Lieutenant Governor of Nevada at the time.

Thomas B. Allen was assigned to create drawings of the film as it was made. Magnum Photos had staff photographers including Inge Morath and Eve Arnold assigned to document the making of The Misfits.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Misfits (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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