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January 26, 2011
By Claudene Wharton
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of The Misfits filmed in Reno, Dayton and the Pyramid Lake area, the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno will host a free screening of the film at 2 p.m., Feb. 13 in the Center's Wells Fargo Auditorium.
The star-studded film released in February 1961, written by Arthur Miller and directed by John Huston, was the last movie appearance for both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, and also featured Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter and Eli Wallach. It is rich with Nevada themes and landscapes, with characters based on Nevada people. Many locals have recollections of the filming.
Lisa Graeber (then Lisa Stix) was home for the summer after her first year at college when the movie crew took over their house in Quail Canyon, near Pyramid Lake. Graeber and her mother moved into their guesthouse during the filming, and got to know several of the cast and crew members. Graeber took personal photos with her Kodak "Brownie" box camera, which have not yet been seen publicly and will be displayed at the screening.
"There is something special about Lisa's unstaged photos," said Donnelyn Curtis, head of the University's Special Collections Department.
Curtis explained that Graeber's brother, Dave Stix, a University alumnus and rodeo team member, was hired to be a night watchman for the Quail Canyon movie set, helped with the rodeo sets in Dayton, and found extras to be rodeo performers in the movie.
"This film has a very special place in the hearts of many who remember when it was shot here," Curtis said. "There are fascinating stories of the event, and we hope locals will come to the screening and share their memories with others."
Film critic Robin Holabird will provide commentary and share stories about the various set locations at the Feb. 13 screening. During her 21 years with the Nevada Film Office, she has worked with moviemakers facilitating use of Nevada locations for dozens of films, including City of Angels, Sister Act, The Bodyguard, Independence Day and Lethal Weapon 4. In addition to founding the Reno Film Festival, she has interviewed several major actors, including Leonard Nimoy and Clint Eastwood, and hosts a weekly film review on KUNR 88.7 FM, which airs Fridays at 5:35 a.m. and 7:35 a.m.
The screening is in conjunction with the "Honoring the Horse" exhibit, on display at the Knowledge Center through March. Since other "stars" in the movie were four-legged creatures - wild horses, rodeo horses and trained movie horses, the exhibit pays homage to these horses, and horses in general, which have played an important role in Nevada's history. The exhibit includes "glamour shots" and posters of horses from the movies, and highlights the major roles that horses have played in Nevada's mining, farming, ranching, transportation and tourism industries. It also illustrates the sometimes-conflicting interests and views surrounding the treatment and desired fate of Nevada's wild horses.
For more information on the film screening or the "Honoring the Horse" exhibit, go to the Knowledge Center website or call (775) 682-5665.