Coincidences of life, Marilyn Monroe’s last film released in theaters reunited her with the director who had placed her at the beginning of the previous decade in the spotlight of the industry and the public, John Huston. An absolutely twilight film, part road movie and part anti-western, alongside the ill-fated Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift. To round off the constant coincidences between reality and fiction, the libretto for ‘Rebel Lives’ was the work of her husband at the time, the playwright Arthur Miller. It spawned possibly her least iconic work of hers, but possibly her deepest character and the best and most complex performance of her entire career.
A character, Roslyn Taber, who allowed the actress to represent the multiple faces of her personality (at least those seen from Miller’s male perspective): from the most superficial, the seductive innocent and naïve, to the deepest layers of her psyche. , specifically the melancholic and twilight darkness that accompanied the real Norma Jean throughout her short and truncated life. A sadness and mystery that arose from the demons and problems of a tormented Marilyn in the twilight of her life.
Cinematographically, Huston’s film has the courage to anticipate the confrontation between the old and the incipient new Hollywood, from the classicism of Gable in front of the Actor’s Studio represented by Monroe, going through his search and conscious departure from the glamor of classic Hollywood. Almost an ‘Easy Rider’ without the lysergic component but with the same dose of despair, which ended with a resounding failure at the time of its release. Possibly because neither Hollywood nor America was yet ready for a work that represented the ghosts of their folklore, their past and their history.