17 May 2020 | robfollower
As two couples are visiting Niagara Falls, tensions between one wife and her husband reach the level of murder.
Director: Henry Hathaway
Writers: Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters
In the '50s, drama meant melodrama, and there's plenty of good melodrama in "Niagara," a masterful bit of film noir suspense. It's directed by Henry Hathaway, better known for his Westerns. But Hathaway was no stranger to film noir.
"Niagara" was released in 1953, the same year that star Marilyn Monroe appeared nude in Playboy as the magazine's very first Playmate of the Month. Twentieth Century Fox made sure that her sensuality was played up in this drama, but Monroe also does a credible job as a femme fatale. Even as she's fooling Canadian police into thinking she's as shocked as anybody that an accident may have have befallen her husband (Joseph Cotten), she's convincing viewers that she can play a dangerous blonde as well as she can a dumb one. She looks absolutely marvelous. Her acting is superb!
Then you add Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters. They both do some really essential work here. And surprisingly, Jean Peters holds her own in scenes with Monroe, with the good girl/bad girl balance adding additional interest. Jean Peters was no slouch in the looks Department.
The Falls themselves are an ever-present backdrop, and as memorable (and integral to the plotting) as Mount Rushmore was in "North by Northwest." It's not as taut as that Hitchcock entry, but "Niagara" is a respectable and engaging film noir ,thriller that offers several stylish suspenseful sequences.
"Niagara" is quite a departure for Monroe, who proved she was up to the task of playing a femme fatale. As '50s film-noir, thrillers go, it's well above average. 8/10