Everybody say, "Is he all right?" And everybody say, "What's he like?"
September 30, 2014 12:30 PM   Subscribe

"Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Long Suicide of Montgomery Clift" by Anne Helen Petersen for Vanity Fair. (Warning: graphic description of car accident in the link.)
"Montgomery Clift had the most earnest of faces: big, pleading eyes, a set jaw, and the sort of immaculate side part we haven’t seen since. He played the desperate, the drunken, and the deceived, and the trajectory of his life was as tragic as that in any of his films. A car crash in the prime of his career left him in constant pain, and he drank himself to an early death, creating an aesthetic of suffering that has guided the way we think about him today. But for 12 years, he set Hollywood aflame.

"From the start, Clift was framed as a rebel and an individual. When he first arrived in Hollywood, he didn't sign a contract, waiting until after the success of his first two films to negotiate a three-picture deal with Paramount that allowed him total discretion over projects. It was unheard of, especially for a young star, but it was a seller’s market. If Paramount wanted him, they’d have to give him what he wanted—a power differential that would go on to structure the star-studio relationship for the next 40 years."
Previously: [disposable]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (21 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
ALSO TODAY A Scandal Of Classic Hollywood NOT in her book ( which just came out!)

Anna May Wong: the first Asian-American Star
posted by The Whelk at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Needs a link for those who don't understand the title reference. Or just for those who want to enjoy one of the less famous tracks from London Calling.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:38 PM on September 30, 2014 [10 favorites]

He got a raw deal.
posted by edheil at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

Lots of prevs.

I'm buying her book for sure.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 for the thread title. #clashforever
posted by gern at 12:54 PM on September 30, 2014 [8 favorites]

Ha. I've been wondering about that song forever.
posted by Renegade Duck at 1:06 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yessss I just got my copy of her book in the mail and I am super psyched to dive into it.
posted by griphus at 1:17 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Omaha native Montgomery Cliff.

I'm sorry, I can't help myself. I suffer from a free-floating excess of civic pride. Wherever I happen to live, I insist on reminding people of its storied history. There is a quote from James Dean where he said, "I think I am gong to make it because on one hand I am like Clift saying help me and of the other hand I am Brando saying, 'Screw you!', and somewhere in between is 'James Dean'."

I hear that and immediately want to say "I think you mean Omaha natives Clift and Brando.
posted by maxsparber at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2014 [9 favorites]

I love her writing.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:24 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

(Was hoping someone would recognize the title and link to the song - thanks, Nerd of the North, I thought it would be nicer that way.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:43 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

My iPod played "The Right Profile" randomly right before I saw this post. It was kind of spooky.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:08 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Enh...the Bosworth book has far better writing and is the definitive Clift bio.

I went to look at his last home( which was also the place Teddy Roosevelt gave his daughter Alice) when it was up for sale a few years ago, but it needed way too much work.
posted by brujita at 3:33 PM on September 30, 2014

Jerome Robbins was still alive when she wrote it; my hunch is that he's the man she refers to as "Josh".
posted by brujita at 3:43 PM on September 30, 2014

Oooh, the book is finally out? I've been waiting so long.....
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:14 PM on September 30, 2014

James Garfield in the afternoon. Montgomery Clift at night.
posted by 4ster at 7:21 PM on September 30, 2014

"Is he alive?
Can he still feel?"
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:36 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just watched the blu-ray of Terminal Station a few months ago. Clift is a little mis-cast as an Italian professor but it's still a worth watching as a weird but effective combination of a fifties Hollywood romance and Italian post-war neo-realist film.
posted by octothorpe at 8:19 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

No! That role can only go to Andrew Bird.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:35 AM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

20 years ago I would have said Johnathon Schaech for pre-accident and Peter Gallagher for post.
posted by brujita at 7:41 AM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was unfamiliar with Anne Helen Petersen so didn't even consider looking to see if she'd been on the blue (white?) before - so thanks showbiz_liz!

I only found her because The Whelk's twitter feed - so thanks again.

(There. I've said it twice now. #BreakingBadMarathon on my brain.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:02 PM on October 1, 2014

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