September 30, 2002
Are Back Again
by Dave Henderson, Staff
FRESNO STATE -- The film classic, about
filmmaking, "Making 'The Misfits " is back again this week. It
all begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday., The series looks s back at the
1961 film that brought together movie legends Clark Gable and
Marilyn Monroe, and also marked their last time onscreen.
A mournful study of lost souls living
in the Nevada desert, "The Misfits" was directed by John Huston,
written by Monroe's then-husband Arthur Miller, and co-starred
a dream cast of Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter and Eli Wallach.
Apart from rough shooting conditions
and 110-degree weather, Monroe's confidence was shaken by a recent
miscarriage and affair with French actor Yves Montand.
Terrified by a role that didn't allow
her the escape of comedy, chronically late to the set, she fought
with Miller and saw their marriage collapse. Gable, determined
to prove his virility at 59, insisted on shooting grueling scenes
with a horse and died of a heart attack shortly thereafter. Huston,
Monroe's personal choice as director, escaped the mounting tension
by gambling all night in Reno's casinos.
Director Gail Levin interviews surviving
cast members Wallach and Kevin McCarthy, crew members and photographers
and Miller, who has rarely spoken about Monroe in the past. "It
was artistically a wonderful experience," he says. "It's just
that personally, it was terrible to see Marilyn go through such
When Miller describes the people of Nevada
and their "unrequited longing for something they couldn't name,"
he could just as easily be describing Monroe and her fellow actors.
After four decades, "The Misfits" and its sad legacy are undimmed.
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