Arlecchino Cinema > 17:45


John Huston


Film Notes

Arthur Miller began writing the treatment of The Misfits in early 1958, adapting his own story The Mustangs and tailoring it to his wife Marilyn Monroe. When filming began in July 1960, there was much excitement in the air. […] There was no shortage of reasons for this hysterical euphoria. Clark Gable, who had serious heart problems, believed both that he had found the best part of his career, and that it might be his last. After demonstrating the full extent of her talent as a comedian in Some Like It Hot, Marilyn Monroe found herself for the first time in a film written specifically for her and that should legitimise her as a dramatic actress, while for Miller The Misfits could be the justification, and compensation, for five years of literary inactivity. […] The Misfits is one of the most Hustonian films Huston ever directed. […] It’s an elegy about the end of horses in a changing America (Huston: “We live in a society in which dogs eat horses”). Once again it is the story of a small community of stragglers, three men and one woman. Typical Hustonian heroes, they are dominated by a myth, freedom, which first translates to a relentless desire for independence from society, from its laws, constraints and taboos. A phrase is repeated so often it becomes a dominant leitmotif: “Anything’s better than wages”. The storyline is simple, more a situation than an actual plot: the meeting between Roslyn Tabor, a radiant woman from Chicago temporarily in Reno (Nevada) to get a divorce, and a trio of cowboys. With this quartet Miller fleshes out an analysis of the unhappiness of American society and the crisis of the family as an institution, an analysis that sometimes poignantly meditates on misunderstanding and incommunicability when living as a couple. The Misfits is also an oblique literary portrait of Monroe that Miller sketched from real life and that Huston turned into a documentary about the actress, in the way that À bout de souffle is a documentary about Belmondo. […] In retrospect, the whole film acquires the disturbing allure of a game of truth in which the boundary between reality and fiction, life and its representation, is blurred: it is the apotheosis of Gable, who died 11 days after the end of filming; and Monroe’s separation from Miller, a prelude to her tragic end, is all written between the lines of the film.

Morando Morandini, John Huston, Il Castoro, Milan 1996

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal racconto The Mustangs (1956) di Arthur Miller. Scen.: Arthur Miller. F.: Russell Metty. M.: George Tomasini. Scgf.: Stephen Grimes, William Newberry. Mus.: Alex North. Int.: Clark Gable (Gay Langland), Marilyn Monroe (Roslyn Taber), Montgomery Clift (Perce Howland), Thelma Ritter (Isabelle Steers), Eli Wallach (Guido), James Barton (anziano nel bar), Estelle Winwood (Mrs. Murphy), Kevin McCarthy (Raymond Taber), Dennis Shaw (ragazzo nel bar), Philip Mitchell (Charles Steers). Prod.: Frank E. Taylor per Seven Arts Productions. DCP. Bn.