Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dvd/150: NIAGARA (Henry Hathaway, 1953)

After six years of supporting roles, 1953 saw Marilyn Monroe break though to stardom with the musical GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and thriller NIAGARA.  Directed by Henry Hathaway, Marilyn played an unfaithful femme fatale and even good actors like Joseph Cotton fade to grey against her sheer screen magnetism.

The plot is film noir hokum: Ray & Polly Cutler are honeymooning to a motel overlooking Niagara Falls and make the acquaintance of a 1950s Madame Bovary named Rose Loomis.  

Rose is bored with WWII vet husband George with his unpredictable mood-swings and, on a visit to the Falls, Polly sees Rose with her secret lover.  The couple plan to murder George at the Falls, but when it goes wrong, both Rose and Polly find themselves in danger.

As a thriller, you never engage with the perfunctory characters but as a star vehicle, it does exactly what it needs to do.  

Shelf or charity shop?  Neither, NIAGARA is in DVD limbo by living in a paper sleeve in a plastic storage box!

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