The Misfits (1961) Poster



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  • Recent divorcee Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe) meets two cowboys, Guido (Eli Wallach) and Gay (Clark Gable), and accepts their invitation to stay at Guido's house. When Roslyn learns that Guido is going to turn wild horses into dog food, she protests. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Misfits is based on a screenplay by American playwright Arthur Miller [1915-2005]. The screenplay was based on a short story, "The Misfits," also by Arthur Miller. It is available in a book of Miller's short stories, titled I Don't Need You Anymore (1967). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The misfits are wild mustangs that herd together and roam the Nevada desert. By extension of the metaphor, the misfits are also the main characters—Roselyn, Guido, Gay, and rodeo rider Perce Howland (Montgomery Clift)—who go mustang rustling in order to sell the horses to slaughterhouses so that Gay can maintain his independence and not have to work for "wages" (i.e., get a job). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In the opening scene, a truck bearing the logo "Jack's RENO GARAGE" is seen driving down the street, an indication that the setting of the movie is in Reno, Nevada. Indeed, most of the movie was shot at various places in Nevada, including the Washoe County Court House on Virginia Street and nearby Pyramid Lake. The bar scene where Roslyn plays paddle ball was filmed in Dayton, Nevada, east of Carson City. The climax takes place on a dry lake bed east of Dayton that is now called "Misfits Flat". Edit (Coming Soon)

  • It's a Meyers OTW. See here for a photo. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Most viewers like to believe that his children actually came to see him at the bar but were so embarrassed by his behavior that they left. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • After Roslyn throws a fit over the capture of a mare and her foal, Gay winds up setting them free. He offers Roz a ride back to the house, and she accepts. As they are driving along, Roz says that she'll leave tomorrow. They stop to pick up Gay's dog and, as they watch the mare and foal gallop away, Gay puts his arm around Roz's shoulder. Roz asks him how to find their way home in the dark, and Gay points to a star. "Just head for that big star straight on," he says. "The highway is under it. It'll take us right home." Roz pulls his arm tighter and nestles her head against his. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Most viewers like to think they do, especially after the way they were cuddling in Gay's truck on the way home. Not to mention Gay's comment after setting the horses free: "I'll just have to find another way to be free." There seems to be some sort of hopeful reconciliation between Gay and Roslyn at the end. Gay knows that the sensitive Roslyn is revolted by his macho violence, the harshness of outdoor life, and his capacity to be cruel to animals for "practical" reasons (making a living), while Roslyn seems to accept that he needs to be seen as the boss man after he lets the stallion run free after wrestling it. He's now painfully aware that his old cowpoke lifestyle is being rendered obsolete and that it's time to hang up the cowboy hat to try pursuing a different dream. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • No. Of the five principal actors, four of them died within eight years of filming The Misfits. Clark Gable suffered a heart attack three days after filming ended and died 11 days later on 16 November, 1960. He was 59 years old. Marilyn Monroe died of a drug overdose on 5 August, 1962. She was 36 years old. On 23 July, 1966, Montgomery Clift died of what was called "occlusive coronary artery disease" (basically, a heart attack). He was 45 years old at the time. Thelma Ritter died at age 63 of a heart attack on 5 February, 1969, eight years after filming The Misfits. Eli Wallach, the last surviving major cast member, passed away on June 24, 2014, at the age of 98. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Not all of them, but quite a few; stuntman Jack N. Young stood in for Gable in some of the more strenuous scenes, including nearly the entire scene involving the roping of the mustangs. However, although he was nearing 60 years old, Gable insisted on doing many of his own stunts, including the fall off of the car and on to the pavement outside the bar, sprinting 100 yards after the truck in the desert, and, most notoriously, being dragged across the dry desert lake bed at more than 30 miles per hour. Some critics believe that this physical exertion might have contributed to his heart attack and death just days after filming ended. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Anything's possible, but, if one is to believe the accounts of both Gable and Monroe, the answer is no. Both on and off the set, they expressed genuine admiration, respect, and affection for one another, and Clark Gable in particular took a rather protective, paternal interest in Marilyn; the two of them were often seen between takes sitting off alone in private conversation and, in the instances where Marilyn did show up late, it was Gable who generally came to her defense, jokingly saying things like "why is it that sexy women are never on time?".

    It is true that Marilyn Monroe was dealing with very difficult personal issues during the making of this film- including the break-up of her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller- and was often under the influence of drugs and alcohol during the production. She was often late to the set, and production was even halted for about a month so that Marilyn could be checked into a hospital for detox.

    But the hot Nevada desert was a difficult film location for all concerned in many respects; most of the principal actors and many of the crew, not just Gable and Monroe, were often exhausted both during and immediately after the film's production. And Monroe wasn't the only star causing problems and production delays during shooting; Montgomery Clift was also battling drug and alcohol abuse during the production, often causing Gable to lose his patience (and his temper).

    After Gable died, a reporter quoted a comment from Kay Gable, Clark Gable's wife, that she felt that the "eternal waiting" on the set of "The Misfits" had contributed to her husband's death, but Mrs. Gable didn't specifically mention Marilyn Monroe and, as stated earlier, shooting a film in the desert is almost always an arduous task at best and production delays in such conditions are generally the rule and not the exception, even when the principal actors are consistently sober and focused every day (which clearly Monroe and Clift were not). Further evidence that Kay Gable did not blame Marilyn for contributing to her husband's death can be found in the fact that, when Mrs. Gable held the christening for her son, John Clark Gable (who was born four months after Gable's death). she personally invited Marilyn to attend- and indeed Marilyn did.

    In any event, when Marilyn Monroe did cause production delays, it was probably a more positive than negative thing for Gable, as his contract for "The Misfits" guaranteed him a staggering $48,000 a week in overtime pay, so the longer he was there, the more money he made.

    Finally, to blame Gable's heart attack entirely on stress caused by Monroe is unfair, as Gable's lifelong history of crash dieting, hard drinking (up to two quarts of whiskey per day), and heavy smoking (three packs of cigarettes and a dozen cigars per day by some accounts) undoubtedly played a part in his untimely demise from heart failure just days after filming was completed. In addition, as mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ, Gable was an outdoors type, a "man's man", and insisted on doing many of his own stunts during the production; this would have put a great physical strain on anyone, especially a 59-year-old man who was not in peak physical condition at the time. Edit (Coming Soon)


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