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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    French, Spanish, Italian, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer

The Misfits

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 119 mins . M . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Having recently travelled to Reno Nevada to obtain a divorce, beautiful starlet Roslyn Taylor (Marilyn Monroe), is depressed to find that she must now start her life all over again. An idealistic and somewhat naïve romantic, Roslyn is disillusioned with the harsh realities of modern relationships and of modern life. But her life takes a turn when, taking up with a trio of other ‘misfits’, she is given the opportunity to drop out and pursue a carefree life on the Nevada plains. For these misfits, three men who lust after Roslyn like randy schoolboys, are beholden to none; working from hand to mouth but living the free life of the open road. Weatherworn by years on the plains, Gay Langland (Clark Gable) is a suave, womanising cowboy whose old way of life is passing him by. His companions are Guido (Eli Wallach) an ex-bomber pilot tortured by the premature death of his wife, and Perce (Montgomery Clift) a young rodeo rider who has lost his family’s farm to his mother’s suitor.

Happier than at any other time in her life, and slowly falling in love with Gay, life on the plains seems to agree with Roslyn’s romantic sensibilities. However her idyll is shattered when the realities of life again begin to encroach as the three fellas head out onto the plains to round up wild Nevada mustangs to sell as pet food...

"I don't know where I belong..."

Forget what the critics might say. Despite the involvement of acclaimed playwright Arthur Miller and legendary director John Huston, The Misfits is a badly conceived, overindulgent and, most importantly, utterly boring piece of cinema. While, for their part, the performances of the impressive cast are all quite reasonable (sadly this was the last film for both Gable and Monroe), their characters are utterly unlikeable, and at no stage is the audience given the opportunity to empathise with their plight. The exception is Montgomery Clift’s Perce for whom (to Clift’s credit) patches of humanity do manage to shine through his pathetic existence. Another of Marilyn’s ‘dramatic’ roles, although her portrayal of Roslyn still conveys that naïve, slightly twisted innocence that was her stock and trade, her character swings unpredictably between strong independent woman and pathetically over-dependent. By the end of the film, dulled by Gable’s unrelenting, smug, self-satisfaction and Monroe’s incessant whining, it’s impossible to care a hoot what happens to the entire rabble.

  Video
Contract

With a whole dual-layer disc to play with and little in the way of extras to soak up space, MGM’s presentation of The Misfits literally throws bandwidth at the image. The results are an anamorphic (1.78:1) black and white transfer that is completely unaffected by compression-related artefacts. Despite the excess of soft focus for the comely Ms Monroe, the image is sharp without undue aliasing or moire and the well balanced contrast delivers a satisfying level of detail in brightly lit scenes - slightly less so in darker scenes and shadows. Drawn from quite variable source material, scenes vary between crystal clean and rather distractingly be-speckled, and end-of-reel markers are clearly visible throughout. Film grain also is the image’s constant companion, although it never reaches a distracting level.

Overall, the results are quite reasonable given the age of the film. Without the obligatory restoration comparison supplied in the extras this time around, it’s impossible to say whether the image we see is the result of digital remastering, but with a film this average the studio may well have had a few unused reels lying about the place.

  Audio
Contract

In terms of audio we get Dolby Digital mono in all its glory, with audio tracks provided in the original English as well as German, French, Italian and Spanish dubs. Serviceable yet unspectacular, I won’t bore you with a string of unnecessary details. Suffice to say that the audio mixes meet the needs of the film; the annoying mix of classic film-dramatic and cliché country and western strains that serves as a score never overriding the all-important dialogue, which remains clear and distinct throughout. Thankfully, the English audio mix belies the film’s age, displaying nothing in the way of annoying clicks pops or dropouts. From the samples I took, the dubs also seem equally free of such nasties.

  Extras
Contract

Nothing much here to report in terms of extras. For you fans out there, only a ratty, full-frame version of the theatrical trailer (3:23) is here to savour; accessed via some static anamorphic menus.

  Overall  
Contract

Although I’m quickly turning into a huge Marilyn fan, I found nothing to like in The Misfits. Despite reasonable performances from all concerned, Miller’s treatise on America’s lost way of life, filled with unsympathetic, frankly annoying characters, borders on the nauseating. Despite the excessive use of soft-focus, even Marilyn’s luminous on-screen presence has a hard time shining through. All in all, The Misfits is the definite low point in the first volume of MGM’s Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection, and only of interest to Marilyn completists or Gable fans.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1857
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      And I quote...
    "Of interest only to completists, sadly this last film from both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable borders on the nauseating..."
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • TV:
          Panasonic TC-68P90A TAU (80cm)
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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