The Misfits

Sun 3/19/2023 • 7PM PDT

Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum

In-person: Emily Carman, associate professor of film and media studies, Chapman University.

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Free tickets must be obtained on a first come, first served basis at the box office, where seating will be assigned.


Director John Huston was coming off a string of critical and box office disappointments when he started work on The Misfits (1961), which would prove to be one of the most volatile productions of his career. Aside from the scorching heat of its Nevada locations, the film featured an extraordinary ensemble cast headlined by a trio of screen icons, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, who seemed as marked for tragedy as their characters in the film. More than the stuff of gossip and legend, however, The Misfits marked a key turning point from old to new Hollywood. Drawing on new primary research into the film’s production, Emily Carman, author of Independent Stardom: Freelance Women in the Hollywood Studio System (2016), explores the transitional nature of the film through the clash and coordination of its star personas and performances. Specifically, she argues that The Misfits anticipates a shift from the female-dominated star system of Classical Hollywood to the male-lead system of the New Hollywood era. As part of this program, Carman will give a brief talk, followed by a screening and on-stage conversation.

35mm, b&w, 124 min. Director: John Huston. Screenwriter: Arthur Miller. With: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach.

Part of: Archive Talks

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