In a review for ReMind magazine (reposted on the Central Jersey website), David Cohea argues that The Misfits marked the end of Hollywood’s golden age. This may be somewhat true, but I would add that the film also presaged a new era of adventurous filmmaking, although sadly, Marilyn and her co-stars wouldn’t live to see its full flowering.
“Despite intense promotion for the film trumpeting its star power — producer Frank E. Taylor called it ‘the ultimate motion picture’ — The Misfits premiered in February 1961 to a disappointing box office. Reception has improved over the years, with Gable, Monroe, Wallach and Clift lauded for their performances. The stars of The Misfits had all found glory in the 1950s — our memories of that time are rich with them — but by the close of 1961, something had changed. American involvement in the Vietnam War became official. Beatlemania was just around the corner. Soon the ’60s would be in full roar. We wouldn’t have a chance to look back and remember for some time, and when we did, these misfits were nowhere in sight. Their glory days had ridden off into the sunset.”