The Misfits (1961) – PHOTOGRAPHY
By Bob Pakes
In 1960, nine photographers from the Magnum agency were brought in to document the making of what would become a classic and historical significant movie: THE MISFITS.
Directed by John Huston, written by Arthur Miller, and starring some of Hollywood’s biggest names, the production of The Misfits was riddled wih problems of the highest order.
The focus in this article however, will be on the iconic work of these nine photographers. I have assembled as much photos as possible, but in the process their sizes had to be adjusted accordingly. Please click the images for the enlargment that will do them more justice.
Marilyn Monroe appears to be in very good spirits throughout the shooting of the movie. She has never looked more natural and ‘real’ than in these photos. Of course, there is the occasional professional pose in the direction of a photographer (as if she almost couldn’t help playing the role of Marilyn Monroe as opposed to being the real person she also was). But the bulk of the photos show her without her usual masks, without the glamour, vulnerable in the true sense of the word. Monroe is also overweight and the constant struggles throughout her private life had made her look much older than the 34 she was at that time. It’s almost as if she had finally dropped the glamorous image she had created of herself and went back to being Norma Jeane Mortenson. The Misfits was the last movie Marilyn Monroe ever completed, she died in August 1962 (at age 36). The cause of her death is still a mystery.
This Misfits was also Clark Gable‘s last movie. He did not live to attend the premiere in early ’61 and died on November 16, 1960 (59 years old), only 10 days after finishng the movie.
Montgomery Clift only made three more movies after The Misfits. He died in 1966 (45 years old). On the night he died, The Misfits was on TV, when he was asked by his personal asistant if he wanted to watch the movie, his answer was “Absolutely not”, these were the last words he ever spoke to anyone. Clift died of a heart attack.
Go see and/or read THE MISFITS!
Women always want to know what you’re thinking.
Maybe they want to get to know you.
Did you ever get to know a man better by asking him questions?
My face is fine.
It’s all healed up.
It’s just as good as new.
Eli Wallach (to Marilyn Monroe)
You have the gift for life.
The rest of us, we’re just looking for a place to hide and watch it all go by.
Did you ever think of getting married again?
Yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot of times!
But never in daylight.
Ever hear the story about the city-man out in the country?
He sees this fella sitting on his porch, and he says “Mister, could you tell me how I can get back to town?”
The fella says “No.”
“Well, could you tell me how to get to the post office?”
The fella says “No.”
“Well, do you know how to get to the railroad station?”
“Boy,” he says, “you sure don’t know much, do you?”
The fella says “No. But I ain’t lost.”
The man who’s too afraid to die,
is too afraid to live.
She wasn’t like any other woman. Stood by me 100 percent. Uncomplaining as a tree.
Maybe that’s what killed her.
All images in this article are copyrighted by MAGNUM PHOTOS
The Misfits was written by Arthur Miller. The book has been in print ever since it’s original publication in 1961. Below we can see some 1st and 2nd edition paperbacks, all from ’61.
This article is dedicated to TH, a wonderful true-life misfit.