In terms of Summer Under the Stars Blogathon and as a tribute to the immortal Marilyn Monroe, who left this world fifty years ago, I have a look at one of the actress' classics, a film-noir, entitled Niagara.
Genres: film-noir, thriller
Director: Henry Hathaway
Writers: Charles Brackett & Walter Reisch and Richard L. Breen
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Max Showalter
IMDb says: As two couples are visiting Niagara Falls, tensions between one wife and her husband reach the level of murder.
"Why should the Falls drag me down here at 5 o'clock in the morning? To show me how big they are and how small I am?" (George Loomis)
Although this film-noir is shot in color, the very beginning of it trumpets solemnly that something sinister is about to happen. Being not the best example of the genre, Niagara still manages to capture the eye and the mind with its appealing visions of the Falls and the film icon and a chilling story that the film dwells on.
I suppose we could call Niagara a rather basic and predictable thriller, but there's something special about it, maybe, because Marilyn Monroe in her voluptuous beauty graces the screen and rivets every gaze on the every single movement she makes and every single shadow that darkens her face. Even though the movie legend's looks is used like in the majority of her films, the part that she tackled appears to be exceptionally fascinating one, since, without spoiling it, remaining the same character, she switches between different roles of the persona she is portraying; Rose Loomis is both likeable and unlikeable person, she's both a predator and a victim. The character requires a lot of work and depths to be ivensted into it and Marilyn Monroe definitely understands Rose. However, she is not always able to render what she made of the character through her acting. I would like to set it straight: I don't think that Monroe was a great actress. Nevertheless, her charisma and warmth of her personality made her shine onscreen, that's why when she couldn't deliver as a quite talented actress, she delivered as an extremely talented individual.
Joseph Cotten as a husband, driven insane by jealousy, is a decent pairing for Monroe, but another fantastic figure in this tale is Jean Peter's Polly, a woman who found herself in the middle of the tragedy that shouldn't have been a part of her life. Beauty wise outshined by Marilyn, Peters still handled the task and gave a solid performance and I would rather consider Polly the leading character than any other one, since she is an accidental onlooker who puts the puzzle together and happens to follow unwillingly the headlong streams of the falls of another family's problem.
Niagara is an interesting sample of the classic cinema that gives Marilyn Monroe a chance to eclipse yet again everything around her, while the rest of the cast back up her efforts with their dedicated performances.
|3 ½ stars|
What do you think of Niagara? What do you think of Marilyn Monroe in this film?