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This story is about four aimless and rather pathetic people who have nothing to do and no place to do it in. They're just drifting through life and for a short time, they drift together. Gable is outstanding as the rugged old cowpoke who still wants a woman's touch. He takes manly command of every scene and is charisma personified. Wallach's role is less flashy but still powerful and touching. Montgomery Clift plays a rodeo cowboy who's been kicked in the head one too many times. He doesn't get to do much but he's still sweet and likeable. Marilyn is, well, Marilyn, still delivering her lines in that breathy, little-girl voice. Only occasionally does she break through and become a real person; mostly she over-emotes and poses prettily.
Filmed in black and white in a mostly barren desert, the movie is grim and depressing and doesn't let up for a minute. (Animal lovers' note: The "mustangin'" scenes of wild horses being roped and hog-tied are extremely cruel and hard to watch.) I'm glad I got to see Gable and Monroe in their last performances; this is a thoughtful character study of four achingly lonely people.
The screenplay by Miller is one of his most striking works. A story of a group of people lost in the wide expanse of the West in search of the discarded souls of their misspent lives. The film's beautiful cinematography by Russell Metty stands out as superb artistry at the demise of the black and white era. It shimmers with the silver of the deep expanse of the desert and the flat grays and blacks of the distant mountains upon which the last act of the story plays. The music by Alex North is among his best work and gives a savage punch to the aerial scenes and the round up at the end of the wild mustangs.
Montgomery Clift, by now sliding into the last years of his life is touching in his performance of Perce. His broken cowboy with the broken heart is almost painful to watch. His phone call home to his mother is among some of his best work. Eli Wallach gives a strong deeply moving portrait of Guido who has lost his wife, his way, and his humanity. He shines in his scene with Monroe where he asks her to save him. When she can't to at least say "Hello Guido".
Thelma Ritter is, well, Thelma Ritter in yet another of her excellent character roles. Ritter is the master of the one line wisecrack but here as Isobel she laces the cracks with an underlying sadness and vulnerability.
As Gay Langland, Clark Gable gives what I consider to be the best performance of his career.Read more ›
Gable and Monroe start a romance and move to a desert house abandoned by Wallach. There's a lot of drinking and introspection. Present throughout is the cruel reality of what the modern world has become. For example, Wallach, the pilot, shoots bald eagles for the farmers, the bucking broncos in the rodeo have irritants placed under their saddles to make them lively, and mustang horses are rounded up to use for dog food.
Filmed in black and white, there's an underlying feeling of sadness. And even the rather happy ending doesn't help that. It's a good screenplay although it was rather slow at times. But Miller sure knows how to get to the hearts and souls of his characters. I was impressed with the performances of Eli Wallach and Thelma Ritter who were not cast in starring roles. And Montgomery Cliff is a fine actor and is outstanding. As for Gable and Monroe - well, I don't know. Gable has a few good scenes but mostly he doesn't seem real. And Monroe just can't act. She's all right when she's cast as a dumb blonde, but this was a serious role. Her performance here was wooden and amateurish.
I wish there had been some special features on the DVD, but there was nothing more than the original trailer. The film held my interest though, and is worth seeing just because of its history. It's the last film that Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable appeared in before their deaths.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Wonderful!… One of my all time favourite! Superb cast, Marylin Monroe performance's of a lifetime….Published 16 months ago by sylvie poitevin
There has been a hullaballoo about this movie for decades. It was one of Marilyn Monroe's movies that I had never seen. Read morePublished 21 months ago by R. W. SIMPSON
Also the last appearance of Clark Gable and one of the last of Monty Clift. One of my ten best film of alkl time.Published on Aug. 1 2013 by Roland Smith
In "The Misfits," Arthur Miller creates an atmosphere which seeps directly into the viewer's bones... Read morePublished on July 7 2004 by My Inner Chick
This movie seems to have followed her temporary relationships, but most haunting to me was the scene where Clark Gable says "Wer'e going home now" and they drive into the night as... Read morePublished on June 16 2004
iT's truly sad that Marilyn left us with a movie she wasn't particularly proud of and hated making... Read morePublished on June 10 2004
Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Cliff, John Huston, and Arthur Miller. This should have been one of the best films ever made. Read morePublished on March 16 2004 by email@example.com
... she felt that Miller exposed his wife unmercifully... I can hardly disagree with her. After reading numerous biogrophies about Marilyn; she really seems 2 be playing a... Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2003 by Henning Sebastian Jahre