Combustible Celluloid
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With: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach, James Barton, Kevin McCarthy, Estelle Winwood
Written by: Arthur Miller
Directed by: John Huston
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 124
Date: 02/01/1961

The Misfits (1961)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Curtain Call

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Huston's The Misfits (1961) is perhaps most famous as a trivia question: what movie was both Marilyn Monroe's and Clark Gable's last? It's also the one thing that playwright Arthur Miller wrote for wife Marilyn while they were together.

Gable, Monroe, and Montgomery Clift star as three outcasts who escape to a small ranch outside of Reno, Nevada, and hunt wild Mustangs to sell. It's clumsy at times, and amazingly lucid and potent at others. Huston was a tough guy who probably didn't know what to do with some of Miller's more probing moments; or perhaps it was Miller's script that sometimes simply leaned toward the pretentious.

At nearly 60, Gable was winding down and finally learned to act a little, and Monroe has some superb moments as well. It's a curio, more of a stopgap in film history than a great film, but worth seeing.

In 2011, MGM and Fox released a 50th anniversary Blu-Ray edition; the black-and-white transfer looks amazingly rich, but there are no extras.

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