Montgomery Clift refused to play the studio game in the ’40s and ’50s. He wouldn’t sign a contract, he dropped out of Sunset Blvd. just before shooting began, and the many films he turned down included Bridge on the River Kwai, East of Eden and On the Waterfront. Because his talent was as dazzling as his beauty, Hollywood met him on his exacting terms, and even with a filmography that numbers fewer than 20 features, his ground-breaking screen performances are indelible. Montgomery Clift bucked traditions on and off screen, but countless biographies have reduced him to labels like “tragically self-destructive” and “tormented.”
Nephew Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon rigorously examine the flawed narratives that have come to define Monty’s legacy. Their eye-opening documentary is propelled by a superb selection of vintage clips, home movies about the great actor, interviews with family and loved ones and unreleased archival materials from Monty and his brother, Brooks Clift, who both obsessively recorded their phone calls. It excavates a treasure trove of family archives, deconstructing the pop psychology that reduced a life and an extraordinary career to a Freudian cliché. In footage of him at leisure, his joy and exuberance light up the screen… This fresh portrait of the actor’s passions and commitment to living and working in his own way gives one of Hollywood’s underappreciated legends his due.