“The Misfit Flats are among the most beautiful spots in the world to me!! I was utterly mesmerized. I remember vividly the exact first moment I stood there and the exquisite calm that came over me. I felt it was my natural spot. I couldn’t love that stretch of desert more, but then I loved Dayton and that fabulous bar with the dollars on the ceiling. I’ve loved the memories of that film again and again…”
“And Roslyn. What’s to say about Roslyn? She has all of the Monroe tics—her wobbly mouth, her baby-voice, her squeal, her wiggle. But all of these characteristics are made sad somehow in this performance, child-like actions that both draw and repel, weapons in her arsenal and her weaknesses. Roslyn reminds me of one aspect of Monroe’s persona that is often ignored—her manipulation of men. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but as a simple fact: men are attracted to her, almost irresistibly, and she uses this to her advantage as a way to survive—she makes her sexuality and vulnerability a performance, a captivating one that is both completely calculated and seemingly innocent. As always with Monroe, you sometimes want to slap her to snap her out of her breathy innocence and other times want to protect her from everything harsh and prickly.”
Actor Eli Wallach, who played Guido in The Misfits (1961) will be honoured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on November 13 during the Governors’ Award dinner at the Grand Ballroom, Hollywood and Highland Center.
Over a career spanning half a century, Wallach has appeared in Baby Doll (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), How the West was Won (1962), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Now approaching his 95th birthday, Wallach featured in two recent releases, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer (2009) and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010).
Marilyn Monroe befriended Eli in the mid-1950s, when they both attended the Actor’s Studio in New York. While filming The Misfits, Marilyn wisely predicted that Wallach would continue working to a very old age. (Ironically, The Misfits would be the last film either Monroe or her co-star, Clark Gable, would ever make, and Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter both passed away within a few years.)
‘She saw herself drowning in Hollywood in 1955 and told her studio, “I’m not just wiggling my behind,”‘ Wallach said of Monroe at the time. ‘Marilyn is not any one thing; she’s multi-dimensional. As an actress, she has lots of imitators- but only Marilyn survives.’
Eli Wallach’s autobiography, The Good, the Bad and Me, was published in 2006 and includes some of his personal memories of Marilyn and The Misfits.
“The Historical Society of Dayton Valley and Dayton Valley Days committee are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the filming of The Misfits in Dayton and Stagecoach on Sept. 18 and 19 on Dayton’s 160-year-old streets. Here’s a chance to connect with this community’s roots.
To make this event special, we are asking locals who remember the shooting of The Misfits to share their favorite local story, photographs or unique memorabilia on Saturday, Sept. 18, at a ‘Reminiscing The Misfits’ rap session at the Dayton Valley Community Center at 170 Pike St., Old Town Dayton beginning at 2 p.m.
To add to the fun, the historical society is sponsoring a Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable ‘look alike’ contest with a $50 cash prize going to each winner. Contestants are being asked to participate in the parade that begins at 10 a.m. Judges will finalize their decisions after the parade about 11:30 at the community center.
On Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m., the Misfits Theater Group is presenting a melodramatic skit telling a tale about your favorite stars in The Misfits movie. The live act is being held at the famous Odeon Hall’s ballroom where many of the movie’s action scenes occurred.
‘Jon Dosa of Palm Springs, former TV talk show producer, will forever remember what Marilyn Monroe taught him about sex. Well, who wouldn’t?
Monroe was 35. Dosa was 19 when he snuck onto the set at Harrah’s in Reno, Nev. “The Misfits” was shooting.
The most beautiful creature he had ever seen was on a slant board awaiting her next scene, unblinking and staring straight ahead.
Nervously, young Dosa edged toward Monroe. “Standing within inches of her luminescent face,” Dosa said, “her lovely, vacant, blue-green eyes made contact with my soul.”
He told the blonde goddess the usual pronouncements about enjoying her work. Then trying for more sophisticated and intimate conversation, he said in a chummy voice, “You know, I think Jayne Mansfield depends too much on sex.”
Monroe looked at him and said, “Well, don’t discount it.”
So that was Marilyn Monroe’s advice about sex. Don’t discount it. And Dosa never has.’
“Not far from Virginia City is the former mining town of Dayton. However, Dayton — immediately off Highway 50 — became famous not for gold and silver, but for its role as a backdrop for The Misfits, a 1961 movie starring Clark Cable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift.
In the movie, Mia’s restaurant in Dayton was used, and if you take a little time to visit the restaurant’s contiguous bar, you’ll see life-size photographs of Marilyn Monroe.
Knowing about the movie’s impact on the area, we camped one night in Dayton and then watched the movie on DVD. With a little direction from the bartender, we found the setting for a major scene in which Marilyn Monroe had sat on a pile of trash, listening as Montgomery Clift poured out his tales of broken-hearted loves. Clift played a masterful role as a cowboy working rodeos, and Gable had the role of an aging cowboy determined at times to lose himself in the empty space of Nevada. Here, we soon discovered, you can easily do that better than most any place else in America, definitely making Highway 50 the road to ride.”
“Usually late for filming, while other stars waited impatiently, Marilyn arrived, acting nonchalantly, taking time for the kids and locals.
So far, we expect The Misfits Troupe to participate in a melodramatic skit at the Odeon where much of the movie was shot, display photo exhibits of the stars, reminiscences of those who were part of the action, a Misfits’ theme for the DVD’s parade and much more.
If anyone has photographs or remembrances of the summer, fifty years ago, that The Misfits arrived in Dayton or who were extras in the movie, we’d like to hear your personal stories.”
Laura Tennant is a Nevada native, Dayton historian and the Leader-Courier’s former editor. Comments are welcome. Call 775-246-3256, e-mail, L10ant38@gmail.com or write, P.O. Box 143, Dayton, NV, 89403.
Now open to the public for the first time at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin.
“One of the series of images that should be in constant demand is the photographic record of the filming of the 1961 John Huston film The Misfits, which stars Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. That photo set, which was displayed at Connecticut’s Bruce Museum in 2004, includes seductive images by a surprising group of nine of Magnum’s photographers — from Bruce Davidson to Cornell Capa — that offer beautiful traces of the film’s stars wrangling wild horses out in the desert.”