16 October 2007

Monty Got a Raw Deal: Saying Goodbye

This is an entry into Nathaniel at The Film Experience's Montgomery Clift-athon

I loved him deeply. He was my brother, my dearest friend. -Elizabeth Taylor

Montgomery Clift made his name playing wounded, vulnerable characters beaten down by the world, much as in his own life drugs and alcohol plagued him until his death in 1967 of heart disease. Acting teacher Robert Lewis described it as the longest suicide in history.

Though not his last film, Monty's short but memorable role in one of my favorite films, 1961's Judgement at Nuremberg, is a wonderful, bitter sweet send off that I'll always remember. Playing a man sterilized by the Nazis who is called as a witness by Richard Widmark, Clift is at his best as he embodies the look of a man who has witnessed the dark side of humanity with his outlook on the world forever affected. Shot soon after a serious car crash that permanently changed his appearance, it is sad to think how much Clift must have truly understood this man. The honesty of his performance in the film both testifies to this and leaves us with a reminder of why we came to love him in the first place. Below is the first part of his scene. Unfortunately, the other half is not on YouTube (well, it is, but not in English), so see this movie for the full effect. It really is great.

I could go on and on, but I think the films Montgomery Clift left for us can still speak for themselves. So here is a scene between Monty and the ever gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor from one of his best films, one of the best films of all time, A Place in the Sun.

Oh, and happy 87th Monty!

"The sadness of our existence should not leave us blunted, on the contrary--how to remain thin-skinned, vulnerable and stay alive?" -Montgomery Clift

No comments: