Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat
Women were barley wearing pants at all on TV and in the movies back then and if they were wearing pants at all, generally they were business pants. Tight jeans and boots for women especially that combo, didn’t become common and mainstream for American women until the late 1970s with the designer jeans revolution. Marilyn was sort of like Catherine Bach ( who played Daisy Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard ) in The Misfits as far as style and looked gorgeous and sexy during the entire movie.
As far as the movie itself it wasn’t a great movie. It was entertaining and at times pretty funny. But Elie Wallach who was one of the best actors at least of his generation and in this movies is right about the word misfits. The four main characters in the movie including Marilyn, but also with Burt Lancaster, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter, and Montgomery Clift, were basically all drifters who went from place to place and got involved in this or that. Gary Langland, ( played by Burt Lancaster ) Guido, ( played by Eli Wallach ) and Pierce Howland, ( played by Montgomery Clift ) were all Nevada cowboys but they were part-time cowboys at this point.
Roslyn Taber ( played by Marilyn Monroe ) and Isabelle Steers ( played by Thelma Ritter ) were even bigger drifters than the cowboys. Roselyn was just recently divorced and not knowing where she was going from there and how where her life was going. Isabelle was Roselyn’s friend but perhaps even more of a drifter than Roselyn and just being with her friend to help her out and try to start over. They end up in Reno, Nevada and stop at a bar which is where they meet Gary and Guido and start to get to know each other. And they tell the two woman that they’re cowboys which is where Roselyn gets interested and find out that Roselyn has nowhere to stay and Gary brings her back to his cabin.
The Roselyn character is so sweet, adorable, and innocent in the movie. Idealistic and naive and overly idealistic as well. Expecting people to better than they actually are. Marilyn was literally the kid in the movie both figuratively and literally. With the other four main characters all having real world experience and knowing people for who they are. The seen when they start to go rodeoing is a perfect example of that. Roselyn thinks that the guys there are just there to catch horses and then let them go for sport. When the fact is they’re doing it for money and are going to sell the horses to people that are going to kill the horses and use them for meet to sell on the market. The only person in the group who is not aware of this going in. Like a kid.
This is not Marilyn Monroe’s worst movie and certainly not her best movie. I believe she physically looks her best in this movie along with The River of No Return where she plays a woman with a lot more experience and sense for the real world. In The Misfits I believe she comes off as 15-16 year old little girl and not just because she was adorable enough enough to pass for a girl that young physically. But her character’s personality in this movie is very immature and inexperienced. Good movie if you love gorgeous sexy women in jeans and boots and love cowgirls. But the movie itself leaves plenty to be desired.
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