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December 17, 2019

A Young and Very Charming Montgomery Clift in the 1940s

After performing in the Broadway production of There Shall Be No Light, a work which won the 1941 Pulitzer Prize, Montgomery Clift (born Edward Montgomery Clift) decided to move to Hollywood. One of the original method actors, along with Marlon Brando and James Dean, Clift was also remembered for carrying out such rare move by not signing a contract to any studios, only doing so after his first two films were successful, which were Fred Zinnemann’s The Search and Howard Hawks’ Red River, both were released in 1948.

Clift’s performance as a soldier in The Search earned him his first Academy Awards nomination for Best Actor, even led to director Zinnemann’s being asked, “Where did you find a soldier who can act so well?” It was reported that because Clift was not much taken with the dialogue in the screenplay, he reworked his own lines in order to shape his characterization as naturalistic as possible.

Clift appeared in the 1949 drama film The Heiress along with Olivia de Havilland, although he ended up displeased with his performance, and left early during the film premiere.

Let’s take a look back at young Monty during the 1940s:

Montgomery Clift as Richard Miller in 'Ah, Wilderness,' May 1944. Photo by NBCUniversal.

Onslow Stevens and Montgomery Clift sit and talk in a scene from the Theatre Guild's production of Andre Birabeau's play 'Dame Nature,' circa 1945. Photo by Hulton Archive.

Montgomery Clift in uniform while playing a tin whistle, circa 1945. Photo by FPG.

Montgomery Clift manning wheelbarrow as he helps his friend Fred Green with cement mixer, as they work on building Green's new home, 1948. Photo by J. R. Eyerman for LIFE.

Montgomery Clift manning wheelbarrow as he helps his friend Fred Green with cement mixer, as they work on building Green's new home, 1948. Photo by J. R. Eyerman for LIFE.

Montgomery Clift rolls a cigarette while in costume during a break in filming 'Red River,' August 1948. Photo by J. R. Eyerman for LIFE.

Montgomery Clift dressed in cowboy costume, rolling cigarette during shooting of 'Red River,' 1948. Photo by J. R. Eyerman for LIFE.

Promotional still of Montgomery Clift for 'Red River,' 1948. Photo by Corbis.

Montgomery Clift and Joanne Dru on the set of 'Red River,' 1948. Photo by Corbis.

Montgomery Clift happily watching himself during a screening of his performance in the movie 'The Heiress,' 1948. Photo by J. R. Eyerman for LIFE.

Montgomery Clift wincing bodily as he watches himself in sequences from screening of his performance in the movie 'The Heiress,' 1948. Photo by J. R. Eyerman for LIFE.

Montgomery Clift, anxious, as he watches himself in film 'The Heiress' in studio screening room, 1948. Photo by J. R. Eyerman for LIFE.

Montgomery Clift, circa 1948. Photo by Archive Photos.

Portrait of Montgomery Clift, November 1948. Photo by Bob Landry for LIFE.

Portrait of Montgomery Clift, November 1948. Photo by Bob Landry for LIFE.

Smiling portrait of Montgomery Clift, November 1948. Photo by Bob Landry for LIFE.

Portrait of Montgomery Clift as he looks over the back of a chair, his chin on his hands, late 1940s. Photo by Silver Screen Collection.

Portrait of Montgomery Clift, January 1949. Photo by Express.

Montgomery Clift wears a suit and bow tie in a promotional portrait for the film, 'The Heiress,' 1949. Photo by Hulton Archive.

Montgomery Clift as Morris Townsend in the film 'The Heiress,' 1949. Photo by Corbis.

Elizabeth Taylor adjusting the bowtie for Montgomery Clift at the premiere of 'The Heiress,' 1949. Photo by ullstein bild.

Montgomery Clift gets a last minute tie tug from his date Elizabeth Taylor, November 1949. Photo by Bettmann.

Montgomery Clift returns from Berlin where he made a movie, September 1949. Photo by Bettmann.

Montgomery Clift smoking, 1940s. Photo by LGI Stock.




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