Liz and Marilyn: Black and White in Colour: “Niagara” (1953) ★★★


Niagara Falls is a beauty created by Mother Nature. Its dazzling view can inspire a writer to write a novel, a painter to create a masterpiece, and a composer to write an unforgettable score. But that can happen only if you admire the beauty from a vast distance, otherwise it can bring you irreparable harm. And now imagine the double deadly trouble that can come out as a result of putting Marilyn Monroe beside the Falls? Exactly! Do not expect anything but an unpredictable, full of twists relationship told in Henry Hathaway’s classic, NIAGARA.

Rose (Marilyn Monroe) and George Loomis (Joseph Cotton) are a young married couple whose happy marriage leaves nothing but charred ashes. The tension between the couple reaches the level of murder, where a woman convinces her lover to kill her husband. In order to finalize the last things that will make the murder plan perfect is to involve a few more people to show how insane her husband is. With the appearance of Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray Cutler (Max Showalter) in Niagara, it makes them unintentionally become witnesses of a play scripted by Rose. However, not everything goes as planned….

The sparkling view of Niagara, Rose’s increased dislike towards her husband is where you will be caught once you start watching the film. There is no secret, or anything else that the viewer needs to figure out throughout the film, except the ending, which when it comes to Niagara itself can be anything. Polly and Ray cross the border to enjoy their time and pretend that they are on honeymoon again. But instead, they get the honey without the moon. Meanwhile, femme fatale Rose, is building a plot against her husband, while George, without his knowledge plays his role the way she expects, as a very hotheaded, jealous husband who is willing to do anything to not let his wife go.

Hathaway’s NIAGARA is one of those film-noir that does not charge the viewer with unnecessary stress, making them think extra, or make you worry what happens next. Everything in this film seems obvious enough, however, it delivers you a certain level of unexpectedness that due to the performance of not only the entire cast, but the Falls itself, which plays its part so perfectly. Marilyn Monroe is quite surprising as Rose, as her Rose is a calculated woman who uses her beauty to get rid of her husband. Joseph Cotton, Jean Peters and Max Showalter’s characters are more like pawns in Rose’s games. However, Rose forgets about one thing, whoever digs a pit will always fall into it. It’s a matter of how deep that pit will be in order not to bury yourself instead… But whatever the answer is, you’re the one who must find out.


Saturday, November 28 at 1;30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox

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