Today I started a reread of Patricia Bosworth’s excellent biography of Montgomery Clift, which I last read probably 15 years ago, and it’s every bit as good and every bit as painful as I remembered it being. Reading about the strange, sad, too-short life he led, it’s difficult not to love Montgomery Clift and want to go back in time to try and help him somehow. He truly was a troubled soul. His acting genius and the movies he left behind are good reason to celebrate him, though, and to be happy for his life even if he wasn’t always so happy, himself. He was a one of a kind talent and a great movie star.
Yes, I’ve fallen down the fannish rabbit hole about Montgomery Clift again, as happens every few years, where all I want to do is watch his movies and read about him, and everything else feels like a waste of time. I’m planning on dedicating the month of March to him here, covering as many of his films during that time as I can, doing a book review or two, and no doubt filling a few posts with nothing but pictures of his startling beauty. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Pinterest are already getting a taste of that. It’s hard not to post photos of him all day, he was just so attractive.)
The Search, Red River, The Heiress, A Place in the Sun, I Confess, Judgment at Nuremberg, Lonelyhearts – every time I see one of Montgomery Clift’s performances, I think at that moment it’s his best one, since he was always so good. But probably his very best role was that of Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt in From Here to Eternity. I can’t wait to watch that film again and to write about Monty’s profoundly moving performance.
Montgomery Clift was one of the greatest actors ever in the movies, and I just don’t think he gets enough credit for how genuinely brilliant he was, or for how much he’s responsible for changing film acting. Before Brando, Dean, Newman and the rest there was Clift, and he’s certainly the one I love the most and by whom I’ve been most strongly affected. Happily for me there are several movies from his fairly short filmography that I haven’t seen yet, like The Big Lift, Terminal Station, Wild River, Suddenly, Last Summer and The Misfits. I like still having something new to look forward to.
So stay tuned for a month of Monty, coming up in March. In the meantime, check out this tribute video I found on YouTube recently. It’s really well done and will probably make you want to drop everything and watch his movies, too. Those eyes. They haunt me.