A Toast to Marilyn’s ‘Misfits’ in Vegas Bar Documentary

I had a pleasant surprise last night while watching Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, a docudrama of sorts set in a Las Vegas bar on its last day before closing down. It was actually filmed in a New Orleans bar that is still in business, so the premise is fictional. The cast are mostly non-actors, however, and the action is improvised.

About an hour into the movie, I noticed The Misfits playing on the bar’s TV – the scene where Roslyn (MM) Marilyn dances first with Gay (Clark Gable), then Guido (Eli Wallach), while Isabelle (Thelma Ritter) looks on.

It’s a deliberate, and apt cinematic reference from directors Bill and Turner Ross, with both films being set in Nevada and focusing on characters on the margins of society. As the bar’s patrons go outside, we hear this original dialogue from The Misfits:

“GUIDO: Every time I came back to base I started to design this house. But somehow I could never get it to look like my idea of it. Now it almost does. You just walk in, a stranger out of nowhere … and for the first time it all lights up. And I’m sure you know why too.

ROSLYN: Why?

GUIDO: Because you have the gift for life. The rest of us, we’re just lookin’ for a place to hide and watch it all go by.

ISABELLE: Amen.

GUIDO: Here’s to your life, Roslyn. I hope it goes on for ever.”

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