31 January 1961: ‘The Misfits’ premieres in the US, Marilyn Monroe’s final role
It’s been a couple of heavy Culture Re-Views in a row for me. First was Friday’s edition dealing with Erwin Schrödinger’s publication of the equation that kicked off quantum physics. Had to dust off my physics degree for that one. Then yesterday I had to condense down the entirety of India’s path to independence to detail the build up to Gandhi’s assassination.
At least today it should be a breezy one.
Oh, it’s the anniversary of the premiere Marilyn Monroe’s final film before her suicide in 1962. Great.
For better or for worse, Monroe has been at the forefront of public consciousness lately thanks to 2022 film ‘Blonde’. In Andrew Dominik’s controversial biopic, Ana de Armas gives an Oscar-nominated turn at capturing the grim abuse that Monroe suffered through as the plaything for Hollywood, the press and toxic masculinity.
In my opinion, and my colleague David Mouriquand’s, ‘Blonde’ is a phenomenal examination at human cruelty through the lens of pop culture icon Marilyn Monroe, if not exactly a strict attempt at a biography. While few doubt de Armas’ incredible performance, many other critics have fairly pointed out that ‘Blonde’ eschews the strength and intelligence of Monroe in order to tell a titillating and overly violent tale.
Regardless of the camp you find yourself in with ‘Blonde’, watching ‘The Misfits’ should be the antidote. Written by husband and acclaimed playwright Arthur Miller, ‘The Misfits’ was designed to give Monroe the sort of dramatic role an actor of her calibre deserved.
As Monroe’s mental state deteriorated, shooting was regularly delayed or interrupted. But the final film is nonetheless a triumph. Initially not a box-office success, both Monroe and male lead Clark Gable are outstanding as intelligent and refined characters.
Telling the story of Roslyn Tabor (Monroe), a divorcee and her budding romance with cowboy Gaylord Langland (Gable). It was the final film for both leads as Gable died of a heart attack within two weeks of filming ending and Monroe tragically took her life on 4 August 1962.