The Good, The Bad and The Critic

Established on March 19th, 2012 and pioneered by film fanatic Michael J. Carlisle. The Good, The Bad and The Critic will analyze classic and contemporary films from all corners of the globe. This title references Sergei Leone's influential spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Niagara (1953) Review

Title: Niagara
Year: 1953
Director: Henry Hathaway
Country: US
Language: English

In the men's bathroom of the Old Spaghetti Factory in Winnipeg, MB (I have no idea if the same thing is in other Old Spaghetti restuarants) the walls are lined with classic movie posters. Stand at the urinal and you'll get a good view of Gone With the Wind. One poster, near the door, looked especially impressive. The poster was of Niagara (1953) and Marilyn Monroe & Joseph Cotton making out over the Falls. 

As two couples are visiting Niagara Falls, tensions between one wife (Marilyn Monrie) and her husband (Joseph Cotton) reach the level of murder.

Having been to Niagara Falls in September 2019, I found it even more fun to watch Niagara as I could guess if I had been where out characters go.  The scenic beauty of the falls, combined with the georgeous Marilyn Monroe, make for dozens of magnificent visuals that the producers easily capitalized on. Countless photos of Monroe looking glamorous posing in front of the falls were featured in a vast variety of marketing for this picture. 

Niagara uses its star and location effectively; Monroe gives a tremendous performance as the callous femme fatale, outperforming her usual roles. The story itself is classic noir, told with stylish visuals that scream "Classic Hollywood". Unfortunately, some of the script is a bit convoluted & the characters' actions can lack logic. It is a bit hard to side with the characters who aren't Monroe or Joseph Cotton. 

Niagara is a decent noir, but is unfortunately overshadowed by the many great noirs made at the time like Sunset Boulevard (1950) & In a Lonely Place (1950). I do think this is Monroe's best acting, but she has also made more memorable pictures. It's certainly worth watching once.

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