Winter 2016

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24 CINEMONTAGE / Q1 2016 THIS QUARTER IN FILM HISTORY by Edward Landler W ritten by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Arthur Miller, directed by Oscar winner John Huston, and starring two Hollywood legends — Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe — The Misfits premiered in New York City February 1, 1961. The difficulties surrounding the shoot slowed production, adding over a half million dollars to the budget and giving United Artists' publicity campaign an unwelcome notoriety. The picture went on to gross a then-impressive $1.2 million during its first weekend of release in 145 theatres. With mixed reviews, though, it only took in about $4.1 million during its entire initial run, not much over its final $4 million budget — "a lot of money in those days for a black-and-white film," said director Huston in his 1980 autobiography, An Open Book. Yet The Misfits endures as a powerful exposition of America's failed aspirations to love and to fulfilling work. The collaboration of the personalities involved created a movie that resonates today more greatly than how the sum of its parts were viewed 55 years ago through the lens of a troubled production. The idea for the film was sparked early in 1956 when Miller established residency in Nevada to divorce his first wife. Staying outside Reno, he hung out with a veteran cowboy, a part-time auto mechanic who owned a Piper Cub, and a rodeo rider. The three took the writer out to watch them capture wild horses to be slaughtered for dog food, The Cowboys and the Divorcée The Misfits. United Artists/ Photofest

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