The decline continued. Clift appeared in The Misfits, best known as the benedictory film of Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Monroe even reported that Clift was “the only person I know who is in even worse shape than I am.”
And the pictures from on-set are just so poignant and heartbreaking and amazing:
It’s like all three are meditating on their respective declines, and there’s a sad, peaceful resignation at the difference between what their bodies and faces could do and how people want to remember them. And the plot! THIS FILM! The mustangs, they just want to be free, just like Marilyn! It tramples all audience members in its path.
But 1961 audiences and critics were too close to see clearly. It bombed, in part because it was shot in gorgeous black-and-white when everyone else was reveling in gaudy Technicolor. Gable died of a heart attack 10 days after filming; Monroe was only able to attend the film’s premiere with a pass from her stay at a psychiatric ward. She wouldn’t die for another year and a half, but Misfits would be her last completed film.
And Clift drank on.