Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


NIAGARA (1953). Director: Henry Hathaway.

"For a dress like [Monroe's], you better start making plans at about 13." -- Polly.

A young couple on their honeymoon, Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray (Max Showalter aka Casey Adams), become entwined with another couple staying at the same cabins near the falls. George Loomis (Joseph Cotten) is unaware that his wife, Rose (Marilyn Monroe), has taken a darkly handsome lover, Ted (Richard Allan), and that Rose wants this younger man to murder George. However, the best laid plans ... The actions of some of the characters in this are pretty dumb, but the movie is not boring. Monroe [Love Happy] looks sensational, although she's given better performances elsewhere. Cotten [September Affair] and Peters are fine, but Showalter's golly-gee-whiz attitude quickly grows tiresome, and he's not very good. The picture has an exciting, if somewhat abrupt, climax on the falls. Don Wilson and Lurene Tuttle are fine as Ray's associate and his wife. Very good use of Niagara locations. Peters and Showalter were both in Vicki.

Verdict: Monroe sizzles sexily while those waters keep rushing! ***.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - I like this one a lot, because Monroe plays a murderess, she's a little harder and meaner than her usual adorable (and dim-witted) film persona. But she is very sexy in that red dress, and Hathaway really spotlights her famous hip-swinging walk...I love JosephCotten in this, too, he plays nutty very well (my favorite of his performances is Shadow of a Doubt). The Niagara scenery is breathtaking, especially in the high-def Blu-Ray I bought. You can actually see the blond hairs on Monroe's face and body as she lolls naked in bed covered with rumpled sheets.

I agree with your assessment, not a great film, by any means, but lots of fun.

William said...

The only problem I have with high-def is that the make up artists didn't know the about the modern-day resolutions and digital remastering so, while it's generally great, you can also see blemishes on the movie stars that you couldn't see before. Monroe looks great, however, although perhaps the make up is too heavy or just looks that way.

It's odd but on Amazon the film is listed as "colorized version" but apparently this was always a TechniColor movie!?