Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Don't Go Chasing Waterfall

Niagara (1953) - Hathaway Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 3.32.03 PM Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 3.38.15 PM Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 3.54.21 PM Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 4.16.23 PM Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 4.19.36 PM Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 4.20.11 PM Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 4.30.21 PM Marilyn Monroe plays scheming, unhappy wife to Joseph Cotten's Korean War PTSD'd husband in Henry Hathaway's sunny, Technicolor shot noir. The Cutlers, (Jean Peters of Pickup on South Street and Max Showalter as Polly and Ray) a young-ish couple spending their delayed honeymoon arrive at their destination, The Rainbow-inn, a motor lodge with the overlooking spectacular view of The Niagara Falls, only to find out their reserved room is still occupied by the Loomis (Monroe as Rose and Cotten as George). Very convincing Rose feigns her husband's bad health to keep the room and The Cutlers, being a wholesome, upstanding American dream couple they are, agree to take another room. It is quite clear that Rose is a head-turner everywhere she goes. And her makeup and painted red lips never comes off even in bed. It is quite clear the Loomis are in the fritz, when George storms out of the room and shatters a vinyl record that Rose just put on and been singing along in her svelty sexy voice at a small gathering at the lodge. It is revealed that the song, Kiss, is some sort of a trigger warning for George who breaks out in jealous rage for whatever her past transgressions.

Soon Polly witnesses Rose in a passionate embrace with her lover in one of the Falls' raincoat and galoshes wearing tour. This Rose girl is up to no good but a goody two-shoes Polly will stay out of these gossips. Rose then arranges to off George with her lover, at the same tour and make it look like it's a suicide. And somehow Polly gets entangled in this grisly affair.

I can totally see Monroe's sex appeal in her first major starring role and Hathaway, the hard hitting noir veteran, makes the most of her in various sexy wardrobe and in shadow play. Technicolor is stunning, so as the set design. Rose's prolonged, almost silent murder scene is as good as it gets and puts most stylish giallos to shame.

And of course, the setting is Niagara Falls, one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world! The boat is not gonna just float around on top, it has to go over the edge of the foaming, roaring water and fall to its demise and it's pretty spectacular. This movie is pretty awesome!

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