I really liked this film but I think that’s purely because I love Marilyn Monroe so much. Its not considered a great movie by some but its special because it’s the last film Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable completed before their sad deaths.
Even though colour had been available for over 20 years, this film was shot in black and white. It gives the movie a more classic feel to it, like its archive footage [though it kind of is now, to us].
This is a very different character to what we usually saw Monroe as. Of course, there’s still the innocence part but she’s not the dumb blond. She has real depth to her and has such an expressive face that we know exactly what the character is thinking. Her acting isn’t comical for once, it’s rather dramatic and feels real. I’m so jealous of her because even in black and white she’s stunning. However, they use the wonderful technique of soft focus which creates a glowing effect [which I love] because Monroe was in a bad place and came out of rehab halfway through shooting.
The script is perfectly written. It made this normal, almost boring scenes and set into something captivating. A lot of the lines are quite spooky considering the deaths of Monroe and Gable and other lines feel very relatable to Monroe’s mental state at the time. Such as “What makes you so sad? You’re the saddest girl I ever met.” “You’re the first man who’s ever said that. I’m usually told how happy I am.” Monroe always put on a brave face for the public but inside she was tearing apart. Another is almost ironic as one of the men say to Monroe’s character “hope your life goes on forever”. The lines are quite sad when compared to what happened.
I felt weird about Gay [Gable] and Roslyn’s [Monroe] relationship. I felt the age gap was a bit too big and they looked more like father and daughter. Actually, looked a little bit like grandpa and granddaughter!
One of the many things that I love about Monroe is the fact that her body is similar to mine! She reveals in the movie that she is a size 12 [though she looks smaller, I’m an 8 so she must have been smaller!] and we also see her in a bikini and she has wobbly bits! A wobbly tummy! Why oh why can’t we have more women like that in movies! Its so refreshing to see a real woman’s body. It was the first time I watched a movie with a bikini scene and didn’t feel obese or bad that I was eating cookies. She’s not fat, not at all, but she’s real.
There is a scene where Roslyn is hitting that ball on a string bat thing. Normally, you’d think a scene like that would be boring but it ended up being pretty exciting! The crowd is going crazy over it because she’s doing so well and shakes her bum as she does it.
There are two types of women that we see in movies; the motherly figure and the sex symbol. Strangely enough, Roslyn is both. She’s clearly a sex symbol but she cares for these men like they were her sons.
Great drink acting in this movie, really good! Gable, Clift and Wallach were perfect drunks, very realistic.
One scene really struck me as being beautifully sad. Roslyn finally cracks after watching the men tie down the wild horses. She runs into the desert and starts screaming at them for being murderers. We never see a close-up of Monroe, we get a long distance shot of her but we can tell how distressed she is through her voice and her body movement. It feels very iconic to me. Normally, you have these close-ups of the actress to see her face filled with emotion but not here. You don’t need it. You have this single shot of Roslyn on her own in the middle of nowhere, shouting at the sky, its incredibly powerful. The way Monroe screams is almost like she’s been holding it in from the moment she became famous, like she’d finally exploded and was screaming everything out in these scripted lines. Its such a sad place, where the ‘inspiration’ came from but it made terrific cinema.
I think what makes this movie so impressive is what was going on behind the scenes; the heat was incredibly intense in the northern Nevada desert, the director was a gambling drunk who would be on set either drunk or falling asleep, Monroe’s marriage to the screenwriter was failing and she was drinking and taking prescription drugs and ended up in rehab halfway through filming. Considering all this, they still made a good movie! Imagine how it would have been if they were all sober and happy!
I know this was more of a love letter for Monroe [lol] but she kind of made the movie worth watching.