Why Marilyn Monroe’s Last Movie Was So Controversial

Before her death, Marilyn Monroe starred in The Misfits, and the film’s difficult production may have contributed to the icon’s declining mental health.

Marilyn Monroethe last movie, The misfits, was also one of the most controversial of his career, but viewers may not know the reasons why. She was only 36 when she died in 1962 of a barbiturate overdose at her home, ruled a probable suicide. The iconic star has since become a symbol of cinema, classic Hollywood and even glamour. If Monroe had lived, she would have reached even greater heights – and probably would have appeared in an Alfred Hitchcock film, given her penchant for blondes. Off-screen, her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, as well as her petite blonde appearance and attitude, were well publicized by the press. The controversy of The misfits was also well known when it was released in 1961, but the details are less familiar to audiences today.


Eager for acclaim and respect at the time, Monroe had a role in John Huston’s neo-Western drama about an aging rancher who debates selling his herd of horses to the glue factory for cash. extra money. Monroe plays the rancher’s girlfriend, Roslyn, who is disgusted by his actions. The actress was often late for filming during production and often showed up drunk or on medication. The film’s realistic and emotional plot apparently cost him dearly. Meanwhile, Huston didn’t get along with Monroe and wanted her out of the picture. She was then to appear in director George Cukor’s film something must givebut due to his untimely death, The misfits ended up being his last photo.

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The misfits has been criticized and studied in the decades since its release due to its controversial significance in film history. Monroe co-star Clark Gable, another screen legend known for his role as Rhett Butler in carried away by the wind, died of a heart attack just 10 days after the film’s principal photography was completed. Monroe would die nearly two years later, while Montgomery Clift would not appear in another hit after The misfits and also died soon after, in 1966. John Huston may have overworked his actors. The production may also have been cursed because it was allegedly shot on an indigenous cemetery. On top of that, a longtime nude scene with Monroe added to the lore of The misfits. In 2018, the scene was finally confirmed and salvaged after being cut from the film, which would have been far too outrageous to include at the time.

Marilyn Monroe in a car looking over her shoulder in The Misfits

Black and white shot in the hot, isolated Nevada desert, The misfits was released on February 1, 1961, which would have been Gable’s 60th birthday. The film was not nominated for any major awards, nor did it have much impact on pop culture at the time, beyond the unusual deaths of its three leads. While West Side Story swept the Oscars that year, critics have since defended The misfits as one of the best of the year and celebrated it as containing the best performances from Clift, Gable and especially Monroe, who proved she had the acting qualities to take on such a dramatic and profound role . Fans blamed Huston and the harsh production — which also happened during Monroe’s marital struggles with Miller that led to their divorce shortly after filming wrapped — for putting her in the state of pain and impotence which led to his death.

Monroe’s legacy has not wavered for 60 years. Countless biographies have explored his life, career and most importantly his death. The latest equally controversial NC-17 rated biopic called Blond from writer-director Andrew Dominik and starring Ana de Armas as Monroe, is set to hit screens via Netflix in 2022, with the film set to explore the inner life of the tragic Hollywood icon. With this dramatic depiction and more, fans and scholars will continue to dissect the complicated life of Marilyn Monroe for years to come, and the controversial production of his latest work, The misfitswill always remain a piece of the puzzle.

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