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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Misfits [Blu-ray]

 

(John Huston, 1961)

 

 

Also available in the Forever Marilyn Blu-ray Collection in the US and Canada. The North American package has The Misfits - Some Like It Hot - There's No Business Like Show Business - River Of No Return - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - How To Marry A Millionaire and The Seven Year Itch. The UK Blu-ray version only has Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire and The Seven Year Itch.

        

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Video: MGM

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:04:56.155

Disc Size: 44,124,105,609 bytes

Feature Size: 42,818,383,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.83 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 10th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2032 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2032 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
DTS Audio German 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
DTS Audio Italian 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
* DTS Audio Japanese 1509 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

Theatrical trailer (3:43 in 1080P)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: It was the last roundup for Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, who gave their final performances in this melancholy modern Western. Arthur Miller wrote the script (some say overwrote) as a contemplation of his then-wife, Monroe, and set the piece in the half-world of Reno, Nevada. The dangers of this kind of meta-fictional approach are not entirely avoided, but the clean, clear-eyed direction of John Huston keeps the film grounded. And then there are the people: Gable a warrior past his time, Monroe overwhelmed by the world and its attentions, Montgomery Clift visibly broken in pieces, Eli Wallach a postwar neurotic. If the encroaching mortality of Gable, Monroe, and Clift weren't enough, the stark photography and Alex North's score confirm this as a film about loss. It may have its problems, but seen at a distance of many years, The Misfits scatters its tender mercies with an aching beauty.

***

The final film of stars Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe is an elegy for the death of the Old West from writer Arthur... Miller and director John Huston. Gable stars as Gay Langland, an aging hand traveling the byways and working at rodeos with his two comrades, Guido (Eli Wallach) and young Perce Howland (Montgomery Clift). The three men come up with a plan to corral some misfit mustangs and sell them for dog food, but Gay's new girlfriend Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe), a high-minded ex-stripper who has just divorced her husband Ray (Kevin McCarthy) in Reno, is appalled by the plan. Although both Guido and Perce are also in love with Roslyn, she stands by Gay, sure that in the end he will do the right thing, even as he and his pals begin their planned roundup.

~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

 

 

The Film:

A superbly shot anti-Western, constantly dragged down by Arthur Miller's verbose, cloyingly glib script about emotional cripples searching for a meaning to life in the twilight of the American frontier, with Monroe as the Reno divorcee who becomes a sort of earth mother/conscience to a group of ex-cowboys scratching an unhappy living around the rodeos. Lent a testamentary (almost prophetic) gloss when it proved to be the end of the line for both Gable and Monroe, with Clift - giving the best performance in the film - to follow soon after. But it really comes good only in the mustang round-up at the end, an overly symbolic but nevertheless magnificent sequence.

Excerpt from TimeOut London located HERE

The idea for The Misfits originated when playwright Arthur Miller was forced to live in Reno, Nevada, for six weeks to establish residency so he could divorce his first wife, Mary Grace Slattery, and marry Marilyn Monroe. While there, he met a group of modern-day cowboys who supported themselves by catching wild horses to sell to dog food companies. The parallel between the two endangered species -- the cowboys and the horses -- inspired a short story called "The Misfits" that he sold to Esquire Magazine.

Wanting to make a film with new wife Monroe, he expanded the story into what he called a "cinematic novel," focusing on a divorcée who had been only a tangential character in the original story. He sent the novelization to director John Huston, who pronounced it "magnificent" and brought Miller to his Irish estate to work on the screenplay.

Monroe and Huston would receive the same fee for The Misfits - $300,000. Huston also got a $50,000 gambling allowance for the location shoot in Nevada.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Misfits looks good on Blu-ray from MGM even the softer shots of Marilyn - who is remains quite radiant.  Contrast is notable on this is dual-layered transfer with a very high bitrate. The image looks brighter than I was anticipating. There is no damage nor keen depth. There is, however, consistent grain and I doubt this film will ever look better for a home theater presentation. The 1.66:1 transfer captures integrity of the film textures - and detail rises above the capabilities of SD. There doesn't appear to be any boosting - in fact I suspect MGM are simply taking their best source and doing a straight transfer without any manipulation fanfare. The bitrate doesn't have many peaks or valleys and this is indicative of an even, but less dynamic, rendering.  This Blu-ray looks decent in-motion - and I found is visually pleasing for a film of 50-years old.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Along with some optional DUBs we get a solid DTS-HD Master in stereo at 2032 kbps. The film doesn't support a lot of separation or aggression - some airplane, rodeo and horse action - but nothing expressive. Alex North's score is contemplative and melancholy and supported well by the uncompressed track. There are many optional subtitle choices and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Nothing but a trailer in HD. There is a complexity to The Misfits that has merit and deserves... something. Once again though, MGM's bare-bones package is reasonably priced.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I saw The Misfits some 20 years ago without much of a reaction. I can appreciate it more today as a kind of forgotten masterpiece by Huston. The demise of the cowboy has been broached in many films but The Misfits tackles it... more directly. Marilyn is at her zenith of helpless confusion - drawing out our vehement sympathetic protective urges with every gesture. The camera loved her as much as any other star. The Blu-ray is simply the best way to see the film. I am beginning to like these simple 1080P transfers from MGM. I enjoyed my viewing late last night and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I hope others are impacted to the same degree by this masterful film of sadness and personal discovery.

Gary Tooze

May 18th, 2011

 

Also available in the Forever Marilyn Blu-ray Collection in the US and Canada. The North American package has The Misfits - Some Like It Hot - There's No Business Like Show Business - River Of No Return - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - How To Marry A Millionaire and The Seven Year Itch. The UK Blu-ray version only has Some Like it Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire and The Seven Year Itch.

        

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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