The Misfits

The Film That Ended a Marriage
BearManor Media. Apr. 2022. 190p. ISBN 9781629339399. pap. $25. FILM
Released in 1961, The Misfits is a Western film that has always existed in the shadow cast by the deaths of its stars: Clark Gable before its premiere, and Marilyn Monroe a year later. The film’s legacy is often cited as a metaphor for the shifting cultural landscape of the United States in the 1960s. Malone’s book discusses the film’s production, challenges, and impact. Malone details the very troubled film project, including Monroe and Arthur Miller’s crumbling marriage and the numerous cast members fueled by pills and beset by doubts over Miller’s screenplay. Malone benefits from the numerous biographies on Monroe, Gable, Montgomery Clift and director John Huston from which she creates a tight, well-annotated biography of the film. Unfortunately, Malone’s commentary often seems to speak for Monroe despite the inclusion of numerous first-person quotes. The book is well-illustrated with poster art, stills from the film, and numerous behind-the-scenes photographs of the cast and crew during principal photography.
VERDICT While this slim book succeeds in bringing together the facts about the film in a tidy linear format, it lacks enough critical analysis to elevate its message. Film fans will find it a useful, entertaining retelling.
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