Now 56 years after the actress died, her first nude scene in film has been recovered, long after it was believed to have been lost or destroyed. The footage is from Monroe’s final feature film, ‘The Misfits’, which she starred in opposite Clark Gable.
‘The Misfits’ was filmed in 1960 and written by Monroe’s husband Arthur Miller. The plot centers on Monroe, a recently widowed woman, who ends up with three cowboys vying for her attention in the Nevada desert.
The whereabouts of the footage was uncovered by Charles Castillo, the author of a forthcoming biography on the actress, ‘Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon’.
Castillo discovered that the footage had not been destroyed during an interview with ‘The Misfits’ producer’s (Frank Taylor) son Curtice Taylor, who revealed that he had kept in a locked cabinet since his father’s death nearly twenty years ago in 1999. Taylor, a photographer, told the Daily Mail that “a lot of times, unused takes were destroyed. But Frank Taylor believed that it was so important and so ground-breaking that he saved it.”
Living up to her sex symbol status, Monroe reportedly went nude while filming without warning, much to the chagrin of director, John Huston. Her impromptu disrobing was not appreciated by Huston, however, who felt it was unnecessary for the scene.
Taylor believes Monroe probably threw the bed sheet off because she was sick of the restrictions of the shoot; the actress was supposed to put on a blouse all while ensuring that a bed sheet kept her body fully hidden.
At the time there were strict rules about censorship in film; men and women were not allowed to be in the beds at the same time due to the suggestive implications.
For decades, it has been thought that Monroe’s only nude scene was in the unreleased film ‘Something’s Got to Give’, which showed the starlet naked in a swimming pool. However, the discovery of this footage proves that this was in fact not the first time she had gone au naturel in front of the camera.
Had the footage of Monroe made the final cut, it would have been the first time anyone had ever gone nude in a feature film. Instead, this honour was bestowed upon Jayne Mansfield, whose nude appearance in 1963’s ‘Promises! Promises!’ was the first of any mainstream actress.
Monroe famously had nude pictures of herself, taken before she found success as an actress, published in Playboy’s first edition by Hugh Hefner who bought the pictures of Monroe from the photographer for just $500.