Marilyn the Misfit

Yesterday, a friend reminded me that The Bytowne was screening The Misfits for their weekly “Must-see Cinema” series. I wanted to see the film because we watched The Asphalt Jungle last term in the Film 1000 class I’m TA-ing. I really liked Asphalt Jungle and I was intrigued so see another collaboration between Marilyn Monroe and director John Huston. Misfits might not be as strong a film as Asphalt is, but I really liked it nevertheless. Like The Asphalt Jungle, it’s ambiguous and unsettling. The film slowly builds characters and lets them meander for a while before bringing the final to a riveting final act as Marilyn joins cowboys Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach to wrangle some horses in the open desert.  The biggest treat of the film, however, was seeing Monroe on the bigscreen. The Misfits was her final feature film performance (unless you count the unfinished short Something’s Got to Give). I think it’s one of Marilyn’s better performances and it’s worth rushing out to the Bytowne when The Misfits screens again today at 4:15.

At some point in the film, however, I noticed Marilyn give some kind of tick that reminded me of Michelle Williams’ performance in My Week with Marilyn. After noticing this, I spent most of the film comparing Williams’ onscreen impersonation to the real thing. Although I took more note of how little Williams looks and sounds like Monroe, I stand by my original review in which I praised her ability to capture the spirit and essence of the star. (Or at least Monroe’s onscreen portrayal of herself.) It’s worth seeing The Misfits to compare the work of one of the season’s most debated performances: after seeing The Misfits, I think Williams got it right.

My Week with Marilyn is currently playing at The Mayfair Orleans and The Rainbow.

PS: This Katy Perry/Marilyn mash-up: so bad it's good, eh?