Author Charles Casillo made the discovery during the research for his book, Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon, out via St. Martin’s Press on Tuesday.
Casillo interviewed Curtice Taylor, son of Misfits producer Frank Taylor, and learned that he has kept the footage in a locked cabinet since his father’s death in 1999.
In a love scene with Clark Gable, Monroe dropped the covering bed-sheet and exposed her body. It would have been one of the first – if not the first – nude scenes by an American actress in a major production in the sound era of film if it had made it into the final version.
Director John Huston refused to include the nude scene, allegedly because he felt it was unnecessary to the story. But Frank Taylor believed that it was important and so ground-breaking that he saved it.
The Misfits was filmed in 1961 and written by Monroe’s then-husband, Arthur Miller. It tells the story of three cowboys vying for the attention of a beautiful woman. It was Monroe’s final film before her death.
What will become of the found footage has not been decided, Curtice Taylor said.