Sunday, July 20, 2008

Out of the Past - Into the Now: Misfit Mustangs

The relationship between humans and mustangs has always been a volatile one. Their size and their strength coupled with their wildness has made this species a threat to humans. The ways humans have treated mustangs over the years can be categorized in two ways. One approach has been to wrangle and hunt mustangs to either prove our strength as predators or to reduce their threat to us and our farmland. Another has been to see the mustang as a symbol of freedom and to sympathize and try to protect what has been a dying species.

The Sunday New York Times had an article about the debate on euthanizing select mustangs. The idea is to thin a captive herd which has been growing rapidly and is now at around 30,000.

I'm not forming an opinion or asking for one, whatever your thoughts are on the matter are strictly your concern. However, I do think this is an excellent example of how classic films can still speak to contemporary audiences. The Misfits (1961) explored the topic of the human relationship with wild mustangs. Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach are cowboys who make their living off of rodeos and hunting wild mustang. Marilyn Monroe plays a divorcee who is lured into the cowboy lifestyle, but is appalled by the killing of the mustangs. The most poignant scene is Clark Gable's final performance where he wrangles a mustang. Its difficult to watch as the physicality of it was most likely a factor in Gable's death just days later. This film was also Monroe's last and watching her break down in tears and hysterics has always been difficult for me to see as well. The film not only has amazing performances by all the principal actors but also a poignant dramatic story that has some relevance to audiences today.

1 comment:

  1. Hey. I'm hosting a film blog-a-thon on my site:

    If you could post a link to it on your site that would be awesome. And feel free to participate!


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