The Misfits

Screening on Film
Directed by John Huston.
With Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift.
US, 1961, 35mm, black & white, 124 min.

Noted as much for the woebegone fate of its three stars as for the stellar pairing of its celebrated screenwriter (playwright Arthur Miller) and prominent director, The Misfits remains a landmark work of the American cinema. The story had emerged from Miller's brief stay in rural Nevada while awaiting a divorce and his encounter there with a small band of cowboys who survived by rounding up wild horses. He expanded this narrative by introducing a woman into this male community-a role he imagined for his new bride, Monroe-and then collaborated with Huston on a screenplay. The resulting film inventively mixes aspects of classic cinema (particularly by way of studio veteran Russell Metty's stunning cinematography) with an equivalent demystification of the American dream of the West.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: Directors E–J