The Misfits - Story of a Shoot

This book starts out with a frank interview with Arthur Miller about the shooting of The Misfits. It is interesting to read what it was like for him and what he thought of Huston, Marilyn and the picture itself.

But the meat of this book is the black and white photos that were taken by Magnum photographers who had exclusive permission to be on the set. I think this book is wonderful and since I enjoy rare Marilyn photos it was a MUST HAVE for my collection (even though it was a lot of money when I bought it new). However, the majority of photos in this book are unpublished previously. I had never seen them before. Of course, Marilyn is not featured in all of the photos but I would say the majority do. I just did a quick count and there are approx. 78 photos that have Marilyn in them.

This is such a fascinating period in Marilyn's life and this book gives us a peek into what it was really like on the set.

Author Arthur Miller and Serge Toubiana
Publisher Phaidon
Cover Type Hardcover
Dimensions 7.5 10 inches
Publish Date 2000
ISBN 0-7148-3936-1
Signed No
Number of Pages 192


Over forty years since its release, the verdict is still out on The Misfits. Some folks love it, some folks hate it. That was pretty much the reaction when the film was initially released in late January 1961. Let me rephrase that-- the stars and the filmmakers would have loved it if some folks loved it. According to the reviews and the box office receipts, it seems that not many did. Arthurís valentine and Marilynís last ditch effort to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress went down in flames.

 But to be truthful, it doesnít really matter much what your opinion of the movie is when it comes to this book. ìThe Misfits: Story of a Shootî is so lavishly illustrated and whose design, paper and contents are of such high quality, you could fall heavily in love with the book and still never much care for the movie itself.

 Let me explain. The book was the brainchild of Serge Toubiana, the editor in chief of the magazine ìCahiers du Cinemaî and a biography of Truffaut. Toubiana acts as editor for the book as well as contributing a long essay about the film, the events surrounding the filming and the principle players. To be truthful, although beautifully written, the essay itself presents nothing you likely havenít already learned from sources such as James Goodeís ìThe Making of the Misfitsî or the wonderful PBS documentary ìMaking The Misfitsî.

 What does make the book exceptional is the extensive interview Toubiana holds with Arthur Miller. True, Miller covers most of the same ground in his autobiography ìTimebendsî or in the recent documentary put on by the BBC on Millerís life and the soon to open play ìFinishing the Pictureî which covers the long shoot and the emotional roller coaster which was The Misfits. Yet there is something so different about this interview, something that cuts right to the core as you read Miller discussing a by now long ago romance, a love that faded yet stayed deeply embedded in his heart and psyche for all the years that have come and gone since The Misfits wrapped.

 Above all that, what truly makes this book worth finding is the amazing photographs. As you know, Magnum Photographic Agency contracted to cover the filming of what looked to be a certain masterpiece. The famous photographers that gathered out there in the Nevada desert alongside the phenomenal cast and crew were a Whoís Who of photography greats: Eve Arnold, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Inge Morath to name only a few. All of their work appears in the book, each photo given the presentation it deserves. And as Marilyn Monroe was one of the main stars of the film, the majority of the photos included in the book focus on Monroeís ethereal beauty, providing the readers with some of the most touching and incredible photos ever taken of the internationally acclaimed actress.

 That we know the story, know what happens after the picture finished, know the heartache, sweat and sheer guts it took to bring the picture to fruition only adds to the bookís greatness. Like I say, whatever your thoughts on the movie, the story of the movie had all the makings of a legend. ìThe Misfits: Story of a Shootî treats the legend as is fitting-- with class, quality and respect. A truly beautiful publication, the book is one of my personal favorites and will be treasured by any who find it.

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