Niagara Movie Review

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If anyone can make a yellow rain slicker (with full hood) look good, it's Marilyn Monroe, though this waterlogged thriller comes up unfortunately short.

Set on the banks of Niagara Falls, honeymooners Polly and Ray (Jean Peters and Max Showalter) encounter the brazen Rose (Monroe) and her creepy husband George (the inimitable Joseph Cotten) in the bungalow next door. It soon becomes clear that their marriage is far from ideal, and within 20 minutes of its beginning, Rose has all but arranged for her husband's murder, in cahoots with her hunky boyfriend. Of course, George survives and gets his revenge, and then tries to make his escape with Polly in tow, who somehow seems to get in the middle of every turn of the plot.

Monroe's work here is often considered her best "serious" work, partially because she made so few non-comedies, and partly because she is quite effective as the femme fatale, the "black widow" type of role that would have been interesting to see more of from her. Peters and Showalter (billed as Casey Adams) fit the parts but fail to generate much sympathy, and Cotten is good but clearly uninspired by the story, a pale imitation of Vertigo and other Hitchcock flicks. The script bears much of the blame, co-written by the often masterful Charles Brackett at the end of his career (he also produced the film).

The highlight of the movie (beyond Monroe) are the Falls themselves, with innumerable shots set amidst its spray. One can only imagine Marilyn's response to having to act under the force of the world's biggest shower.

Featured as part of the restored set of Monroe classics in The Diamond Collection II (see links at right).

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Marvin Kalb's picture

Marvin Kalb

It is hard to take you seriously when you don't realize that Niagara was released some six years before Vertigo and most of the other Hitchc**k films of the 1950s. It is very likely that Hitchc**k modeled Vertigo after this film.

3 years 2 months ago
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Niagara Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 1953

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