Monday, July 23, 2007

Monty Got a Raw Deal

Blog-a-thon Announcement
Today is the 41st anniversary of the death of Montgomery Clift also known as 'the longest suicide in Hollywood history' or as doctors put it "coronary occlusion". He was 45. Now is the time to officially announce the next Film Experience blog-a-thon.


As longtime TFE readers know my cat is named after my favorite actor, Montgomery Clift. I like to think that my furry friend is paying homage to the tragic star during his frequent brooding moods. For what classic film star is more inexplicably sad?

Ah, perhaps inexplicable is not the right word. 'Monty Got a Raw Deal' (as REM put it) didn't he? He was troubled by addictions. He suffered through a car accident that marred his considerable beauty and acting ability. He was unable to deal with his sexuality. The last sad straw: though influential as an actor, history likes to pretend that Marlon Brando alone revolutionized acting. They were peers and friends and once even shared a nickname in Hollywood "the gold dust twins" for their near-simultaneous meteoric rise to fame.

Let's give Clift his place in the (internet) sun on October 17th --his 87th birthday had he lived. There's a LOT to talk about. Any Monty-connected topic is fine. First and foremost there's 17 films:
The Search, Red River, The Heiress, The Big Lift, A Place in the Sun, I Confess, Indiscretion of an American Housewife, From Here to Eternity, Raintree Country, Lonelyhearts, The Young Lions, Suddenly Last Summer, Wild River, The Misfits, Judgment at Nuremberg, Freud, The Defector
Many of those are classics...seriously, what a filmography! Now would be a good time to screen a couple. Other topics of interested: queer Hollywood in the 50s, Oscar battles, and Monty's famous Hollywood friendships with Monroe, Dean Martin, and of course Liz Taylor (his most frequent co-star). The classic film lovers should come out in force for this one and I hope that younger bloggers will take the time to discover him. Monty has detractors too (you know who you are) but anyone is welcome to participate.


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13 comments:

Su said...

I'm so glad to hear about this, Nate, it's really about time for Monty to get some more attention online - and I'm very much looking forward to what people are gonna have to say about him, his movies and times.
Today I feel especially lucky I discovered your blog a while ago...;-) Thanks a lot!

JA said...

Oooh, great idea Nat. I just saw A Place In The Sun for the first time last week and thoroughly enjoyed it, though sometimes, watching Monty, I find it really difficult to concentrate... SO PRETTY.

Anonymous said...

I found Cindi's commentary a little annoying but I LOVE The Heiress. It's one of my favorite films - Wyler and his team took a rather straight-forwardly observationist character study - Henry James states each of his characters motivations quite clearly in Washington Square - into a mystery, indeed one might call it a great psychological drama. *spoilers, sorry folks* She gains courage in the end, but what does she loose? Has she made herself as forever lonely and embittered as her father was? This is one of those rare Hollywood studio products that has the courage to raise a great many questions it never answers, and leaves the audience wondering rather than tying it all up neatly in a bow.

RedSatinDoll

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

I actually don't think Clift's filmography is as impressive as his acting talents (and, as I just discovered, his legs). For me, The Misfits is the only really great (and way underrated) film on that list. From Here to Eternity is great fun though essentially trashy, The Heiress is an excellent film but not a great one. I've never been as impressed by Red River, Judgement at Nuremberg and A Place in the Sun as others are. And I Confess I actively dislike. That said, his performances in each of these were exceptional (except maybe in Heiress and I Confess, where he was just adequate).

Su said...

If you haven't, you should give "Wild River" a try, Goran - in my opinion it's, just as The Misfits, greatly underappreciated (or essentially unknown) and all the performances are brilliant, with his still standing out ("Your everlasting dignity!").
Upon first watching it I was surprised how good it actually is.

rural juror said...

Monty Clft is surely the most tragic yet brilliant actor ever to grace the screen. Love the guy

Kamikaze Camel said...

I'm in. I just need to see some more of his movies first...

Stephen G said...

What a great idea. I'm a fan, and will be an avid reader on the day.

Looking at that list, I can't believe I've seen 13 of his movies, with only The Big Lift, Wild River, Freud and The Defector to track down.

Arkaan said...

Clift might be my favourite actor ever.

I'm confused how a film could be considered excellent but not great (isn't excellent better than great?), but overall, I tend to agree - his talent is far better than his filmmography. That said he starred in six masterpieces and a couple near masterpieces, and did so in 18 years.

When asked to sum up his life, he said "I've been knifed." So much said in those words.

Anonymous said...

Good luck tracing "The Defector" down...let me know when you got it. ;-)

Justine said...

I'd love to do something for this. Clift has been one of my favourite actors for a long time, and I've seen many of his films. I'll have to decide on what to talk about though... but that shouldn't be too difficult.

Erich Kuersten said...

Hey, what a fine idea for a blog... a... thon. Count me in. I will write about his unique acting style and speaking pattern in contrast to his "method" peers.

S H said...

Mr. Clift left us on this day, 42 years ago.

He definitely deserved a much better in life. Such a truly (and naturally) handsome man( unlike most actors today), one of the best actors to grace the screen and a great human being .Kudos to him