Friday, January 6, 2012

NIAGARA: Falling for the Wrong Girl Can Be Murder

Niagara (1953) may have been filmed in dazzling Technicolor, but it’s got the black heart of a film noir! Directed by Henry Hathaway from a script by Billy Wilder’s frequent collaborator Charles Brackett (who also produced it), Walter Reisch, and Richard Breen, Niagara is a dark thriller despite the blue skies and white waters of majestic Niagara Falls; even Sol Kaplan’s music has a dark but lush tone, bringing to mind one of my favorite composers, Bernard Hermann. Director of Photography Joe McDonald (The Dark Corner, My Darling Clementine, Mirage) shot the beautiful, bright locations while still making atmospheric, suspenseful use of shadows and light. Even more dazzling is Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest star vehicles; the film’s ads boasted about the film’s two “forces of nature,” Niagara Falls and Marilyn, and they meant it! Monroe is sultry and slippery in one of her last femme fatale roles before Gentlemen Prefer Blondes showed the world Marilyn’s funny side. 20th Century-Fox’s head honcho, Darryl F. Zanuck, wasn’t exactly Marilyn’s biggest fan. In the intro to the most recent TCM airing of Niagara, Robert Osborne reported that Zanuck felt she had no class, and that gals like her were a dime a dozen. What a dope! But the Marilyn Buzz was stronger and louder than Niagara Falls itself, so she got the upper hand; good for her! It helped that co-star Joseph Cotten was fond of her, and he was very kind and patient with Marilyn’s frequent tardiness. More importantly, Cotten recognized Ms. Monroe’s earnest determination to prove she wasn’t some here-today-gone-tomorrow type. Heck, after I learned all this, I was doubly impressed with Marilyn’s powerhouse performance, considering director Hathaway had a reputation as a tough taskmaster (see my blog post about The Dark Corner). Fun Fact: Niagara’s assistant director was Gerd Oswald, who went on to the TV series The Outer Limits.

Dangerous when wet! (Or dry, for that matter!)
Despite the happy cliché of Niagara Falls being a honeymooners’ paradise, Niagara The Movie is moody from the start as edgy George Loomis (Cotten) wanders around the Canadian side of the falls at dawn, feeling insignificant. He’s a war veteran freshly released from an Army hospital, where he was treated for PTSD, or as they called it back then, “battle fatigue.” He’s also got a gorgeous young sexpot wife, Rose (Monroe), so you’d think George’s life isn’t that bad. Ah, but Rose has thorns: a secret lover (Richard Allan, a tasty piece of eye candy) and a plot to kill George and make it look like suicide. In fact, Lover Boy is so secret that we never actually hear his name! For the record, old newspapers I checked on the Internet identified Richard Allan’s character as, variously, “Patrick” and “Ted Patrick.” In any case, George may not be the most stable guy, but I found myself feeling kinda sorry for him. This is why it’s so important to get to know someone before you get married (as Audrey Hepburn learns the hard way in Charade)!

Rose, you naughty girl, don’t smoke in bed! (How does she keep her glossy fire-engine red lipstick from smearing the sheets?)
Fate brings the Loomises together with Polly and Ray Cutler (Jean Peters and Casey Adams, a.k.a. actor/composer Max Showalter from Sixteen Candles, among others). Polly and Ray are at the falls for their late honeymoon, long delayed by eager-beaver Ray’s demanding job as a cereal executive. Ray brings his Winston Churchill book with him (he’s a regular Lance Romance, that Ray), but he promises Polly that “It’ll be as good as a regular honeymoon.” “It should be better,” Polly replies teasingly. “I’ve got my union card now.” They laugh and snuggle, and that’s one of the few happy moments Polly and Ray have together before the Loomises make their honeymoon into a living hell.

Loving a wily vixen like Rose would give any guy a headache!
*SMASH!* "Uh, sorry; can't stand that darn
'I gave my love a cherry' song!"
Things get creepy, starting with small, mild inconveniences, like our lovebirds settling for a cabin with a so-so view because Rose and the unwell George are still in the cabin Polly and Ray were supposed to have. While the Cutlers enjoy their tour of the falls, Polly spies Rose making out with her hunky hottie. At an outdoor party that evening, Polly almost misses a romantic moment watching the falls’ light show with Ray because she’s bandaging George’s hand after he cuts himself breaking Rose’s favorite romantic record in a rage. For her part, Rose just sits there and smirks. (It reminded me of the toga party scene in Animal House when, out of nowhere, John Belushi busts up folkie Stephen Bishop’s guitar, then gives it back to him with a deadpan “Sorry.”) Our sympathetic honeymooners get fed-up as they’re reluctantly pulled deeper into the Loomises’ problems, not realizing wily Rose is setting them up as witnesses to George’s increasingly shaky mental state, all the better to make his eventual death look like suicide. Like that’s not enough, Ray’s ridiculously jolly boss, Mr. Kettering (Don Wilson, from Jack Benny’s various shows) and his wife (Lurene Tuttle from Psycho and oodles of TV shows) show up, eager to sightsee with the Cutlers and schmooze with Ray about giving him a raise because of his prize-winning shredded wheat promotion idea, turning the honeymoon into a busman’s holiday. Oy! 
By now, Polly and Ray have been through the wringer because of those loony Loomises, so even though Ray can be a chucklehead at times, I had to smile and sympathize with him being, to quote the High Noon theme song, “torn ’twixt love and duty,” sincerely wanting to take care of his distraught bride, yet reluctant to nix an opportunity to score a raise that would improve their life together in myriad ways. If the 1953 economy was anything like today’s economy, I can’t blame Polly for agreeing to include face time with the boss as part of their honeymoon itinerary! Peters and Adams make an appealing couple, sweet with a nice touch of insouciant playfulness. The peripatetic Ray clearly means well and loves Polly. Heck, he doesn’t even show any serious lust for the luscious Rose; he just makes good-natured wisecracks about her to Polly, and vice-versa. For that matter, I liked how Polly never acted catty or jealous around Rose. Now that’s self-confidence! As the calculating, manipulative Rose, Monroe smolders like nobody’s business, driving the fellas mad with her careless come-hither air and her curves in, as George grouses, a dress “cut down so low in front, you can see her kneecaps.” Monroe even gets to sing “Kiss” (no, not the Prince song), the lushly romantic tune that Rose and her secret sweetie like so much. It’ll come back to haunt her later, but I don’t want to give away the nifty twists! I’ll only say that Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud to call the bell tower scene his own. Admittedly, considering Hitchcock’s particular taste in female stars, I imagine Hitch would have picked a cooler, more subtle blonde than our Marilyn, dazzling though she is; I suspect Hitch would have considered Marilyn’s Rose Loomis to be more the Judy Barton type than the Madeleine Elster type . After the bell tower scene, the film almost literally drifts into Perils of Pauline territory, but by then I cared enough about the characters to stick around and see how it all worked out.

"Goody! My evil plan is working beautifully!"
Hot make-up sex with Rose? No wonder George is happy!
Cotten is at once terrifying and heartbreaking as Rose’s emotionally scarred fool for love/lust, a hard-luck guy who can’t seem to get out of his own way. We learn a lot about Rose and George’s relationship in little scenes and throwaway lines, like George admitting to Polly and Ray that he re-enlisted in the Army to show Rose he was still just as capable as any young stud. Then there’s the couple’s short-lived jubilance the day after that literally record-breaking fight. The Loomises laugh and kiss, with Rose under the covers in bed and George on top of her with the blanket between them (this was the 1950s, after all), talking about all the fun they’ll have when they hit Chicago. “Georgie, this is quite a change,” Rose purrs. “What brought this on?” George smiles at her. “You know what.” He gives her a long kiss. “When we have a fight and make up that way, I never want to leave your side.” Ooh, hot make-up sex — a little daring for a mainstream studio film of that era, no? All told, Niagara is good, dark, tawdry fun. By the way, keep an eye out for the uncredited Sean McClory of The Quiet Man fame (and many other movie and TV appearances) as Denis O’Dea’s right-hand man at the police station.

Hi, remember us, Jean Peters and Casey Adams, Marilyn and Joe's co-stars?

Wonder if Rose’s hunky hottie gets style tips from Bruno Antony?

Wonder if Rose gets her style tips from Marlene Dietrich?

What's the matter, Rose? Don't you like that song?

Bells are ringing for me and my MURDER!

"Uh, Georgie, let's not be hasty...c'mon, I'll sing you 'Happy Birthday'!"

"'Rest and relaxation, my foot! Come on, Polly, we're spending our
delayed honeymoon in Disney World! And no shredded wheat, I promise!"


  1. This was one of the first Monroe films I ever saw. I'd always thought of her as a bimbo with big boobs and few brain cells, but this film really changed my mind. She was stunning--both in looks and in performance. Joseph Cotton gives a great turn, too. When I think of dysfunctional marriages this is right at the top of my list alongside George and Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

  2. You know, Dorian, I don't think I've ever seen this all the way through. Maybe it's about time. :)

    This is one of those films that everyone thinks they've seen but in truth have probably only seem bits and pieces. I don't know why.

    I do remember seeing it in the theater, so maybe I got up to get candy or popcorn and missed the important parts. As a kid I would not have been primarily interested in Marilyn Monroe's - I mean, Rose's - love life. I probaby saw this on a double feature with some western or other or maybe Marilyn in RIVER OF NO RETURN. Robert Mitchum. The rugged mountains....sigh.

    As always, I enjoyed reading your review. LOVE LOVE LOVE your turns of phrases. i.e. "He's a regular Lance Romance, that Ray." HAHA!!

  3. "Despite the happy cliché of Niagara Falls being a honeymooners’ paradise, Niagara The Movie is moody from the start as edgy George Loomis (Cotten) wanders around the Canadian side of the falls at dawn, feeling insignificant."

    It's worth considering how this story could've turned out if, early in the movie, someone said: "Hey, George! If you're feeling insignificant then try wandering somewhere else beside alongside FRICKIN' NIAGARA FALLS!"

    "This is why it’s so important to get to know someone before you get married."

    Well that's no fun.

    "Ray brings his Winston Churchill book with him (he’s a regular Lance Romance, that Ray)."

    I brought Denise along on my honeymoon (for one thing, she had the keys to the car). Admittedly she wasn't as erudite as Churchill, but the weekend wasn't a total write-off.

    "All told, NIAGARA is good, dark, tawdry fun."

    Say, this really IS a movie about honeymoons, ain't it?

    OK, enough needling of Dorian's article here and down to work. In commenting on the films of Ridley Scott people say that he has the ability to turn his settings into characters. With NIAGARA, Henry Hathaway shows Ripley isn't the only director with that distinction. Then again, it was hard to ignore the titular location. All throughout the film the Falls dominate, looming over every scene if only as a cloud of mist in the background. As the story progresses you just know in your heart of hearts that it's going to cause the death of someone. It's like waiting in slow motion for a car to fatally hit you, and you feel the morbid tension just building and building.

    Definitely echo Dorian's comments on the quality of Monroe's performance. She pulled off the villainness role so well I almost expected Daffy Duck to come onscreen and declare: "You Eee-vil Woman, you!" People (usually male) tend to comment on Monroe's other visible assets, but in NIAGARA her face manages quite an effective catalog from Sinister to Desperate to Outight Fear. Certainly an accomplished comedienne, Monroe demonstrated an enviable dramatic turn here; contrasting nicely with Joseph Cotten's brooding performance. As with the Falls, Cotten's dramatic impact slowly builds and builds but, to his credit, he never boils over or chews the carpet. I'd be willing to bet Hathaway had obviously seen Cotten at work in other films and knew exactly what he wanted for NIAGARA. The result, over half a century later, still stands up.

  4. Great film with two hot babes: Marilyn and Jean Peters.

  5. Kim, I'm glad you enjoyed the NIAGARA review, and I'm especially pleased that Marilyn Monroe's bravura performance made you a believer! Monroe had so much more talent and acting range than she got credit for. You also made an excellent point that when it comes to dysfunctional movie couples, Rose and George Loomis are way up there with George and Martha (what is it about guys named George? :-)) in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF! Boy, I don't think I'd want to hang out with any of them! :-) Thanks for joining the conversation, Kim; drop by TotED anytime!

  6. Yvette, my friend, you honor and flatter me with your praise of my NIAGARA post and your kind words on my turns of phrase! I'm also tickled that you got a kick out of my "Lance Romance" crack; thanks ever so much!

    I smiled at your reminiscence of seeing NIAGARA in a real live movie theater. When I was a teen in NYC and there were still plenty of revival theaters around town, I was lucky enough to catch NIAGARA on the big screen. It was fun to see it the way the movie gods intended, though I think I appreciate it more now that I'm a full-tilt adult and able to pick up on more of the racy subtext! :-) Thanks again for dropping by and joining the NIAGARA conversation; it's always fun to have you around!

  7. Michael, I'm most pleased that you're dropped by TotED to weigh in about NIAGARA! For starters, I got hearty belly-laughs over your quips, especially: "It's worth considering how this story could've turned out if, early in the movie, someone said: "Hey, George! If you're feeling insignificant then try wandering somewhere else beside alongside FRICKIN' NIAGARA FALLS!"

    You're on target regarding Henry Hathaway's gift for turning his settings into characters in their own right, contributing to NIAGARA's mounting tension and suspense. I'm especially happy to see that you and I agree on Marilyn Monroe's compelling, multifaceted performance, especially your remark: "She pulled off the villainness role so well I almost expected Daffy Duck to come onscreen and declare: 'You Eee-vil Woman, you!'"

    By the way, Michael, it's funny you should mention Daffy Duck; this is the second time today that one of our awesome fellow bloggers dropped Daffy's name in conversation! The particular blogger of whom I speak is Yvette Banek, my fellow native New Yorker and multifaceted personality. I think you and your darling Denise would enjoy Yvette's smart, savvy, friendly blog " so many words," covering everything from movies to books to art, and more! Yvette often comments here at TotED, so join the fun! Here's the link:

    Thanks for dropping by, Michael! You're always welcome to join the TotED fun!

  8. "Great film with two hot babes: Marilyn and Jean Peters." I couldn't agree more, readerman! Thanks for commenting!

  9. I always liked this film a lot and your review has given me the urge to dig into my DVD pile (I recorded it some years ago off TCM) and watch it again.

    I feel the same way about Marilyn Monroe as I do about John Wayne (does that some weird?). I once remarked somewhere that John Wayne was not a very good actor (he's not) but no one plays John Wayne better than John Wayne. He is good at playing to his image and he knew what the iconic image was and did not deviate from it. When he did, it was embarrassing (The Conqueror). The same can be said for Monroe. A limited actress but damn she can play Marilyn Monroe better than anyone! A combination of sexuality and innocence.

    She supposedly was naked under those sheets in the bedroom scene and you get the feeling she really is. Despite nothing but bare shoulders being revealed she does get the male blood boiling! As Jerry Lee Lewis once sang, "you shake my nerves and rattle my brains." She does just that, no wonder Joseph Cotton was so unstable!

    Cotton is his usually steady self and Jean Peters is also good. Though not blatantly sexy like Monroe, Peters was one beautiful woman.

    Your description of Niagara as "good, dark, tawdry fun" is about as accurate as it could get. Always a pleasure to read your work.


  10. John, you hit the nail on the proverbial head when you said -- as with such relatively limited yet compelling and iconic performers as John Wayne, Alan Ladd, and Veronica Lake, no one plays Marilyn Monroe better than Monroe herself! I've always felt that Marilyn was at her best when she was either in bubbly comedy mode or, as in NIAGARA, sultry and sexy mode. That said, I thought she put a dazzling spin on her femme fatale character.

    I loved and agreed with your very apt Jerry Lee Lewis quote: Ms. Monroe most certainly had what it took to shake any man's nerves and rattle their brains! No wonder Joseph Cotten enjoyed working with her on NIAGARA! :-)

    Thanks so much for your praise, John; I'm delighted that you enjoyed my review as much as the movie itself!

  11. yeah! awesome post on a movie i love, where to begin, so many things where i either nodded in agreement or went LOL.

    I'm on #teamNOIR with this one, I'm no noir fuss or purist anyway so I maybe stretch the genre a bit too far but how can anyone argue with this one as being included in the genre?!? The case as you lay it out is so conclusive, so convincing, so true. I defy anyone to say this is no noir. Defy!

    YES! on the Hitch comments/comparisons, along w Charade, Witness for the Prosecution, I think this could be a best Hitch he never made, easily.

    definitely one of, if not Marilyn's best performance.

    every rose has it's thorn, thanks for putting Poison in my ear thanks a lot.

    plus one, on Jean Peters as a good pick/hot lady "foil" I suppose, different but enough looks and sass to "stand up to" Marilyn where a lot of other actresses would just be overshadowed. Peters was so good in her own right, underrated.

    surprised there are not more films set at Niagara, come to think of it. such a powerful & dramatic setting...

    finally not to be a post-bomber, but I once wrote a little tidbit on Richard Allen, it goes a little something like this:

    Richard Allen, who played Marilyn’s doomed boyfriend, never quite hit it big despite his heart-throb good looks. A dancer once named as one of Hollywood’s most promising newcomers, after Niagara he made movies in Germany before touring as a nightclub act (with his sister if I recall,?) and becoming a masseur.

    anyway he sure was nice lookin, wan't he?

    awesome post as usual, X O & tied shoelaces from Kristina

  12. I always thought that Cotten's Uncle Charley should have appeared half way through the film - just for fun. And yes - I, too, wondered why there was not red lipstick smeared all over the place! Great post, Dorian - a technicolor noir, for sure (but Marilyn was made for color).

  13. You beat me to the punch on this one, Dorian; as you know, Henry Hathaway is my favorite director, and this is one of his best pictures. I too will stand that bell-tower scene up against Hitchcock's best; this is surely (like Charade) one of the best Hitchcock movies Hitchcock never made.

    For the record, Hathaway handled Marilyn just right. At the time, Marilyn's acting coach was Natasha Lytess, and she insisted on having her on every picture. Hathaway said (I paraphrase), "Look, do me a favor. I can't have you looking over my shoulder for her approval every time I call 'Cut'. You should look to me for whether it's good or bad, not her. Let her stay in your dressing room. If you need to see her, just ask and I'll let you go; you can stay in there with her for hours, or all day if you need to. But I can't have her on the set." Marilyn agreed, and (here I quote Hathaway) "Marilyn never went to see her once through the whole picture. Not once. You have to have a relationship in order to gain confidence in people."

    For George Loomis, Hathaway originally wanted James Mason ("He has that intensity, that neurotic edge to his character...Joe Cotten's a good actor, but he doesn't have that smoldering edge..."). Apparently Mason was all set, but nixed it because his 3-year-old daughter Portland said she was sick of seeing him die in all his pictures. (I guess the next year, when A Star Is Born and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea came along, Portland just had to suck it up. Even the most indulgent father has his limits, eh?)

  14. Kristina, it's always a pleasure to have you come over from SPEAKEASY to visit! Beaucoup thanks for your enthusiastic praise of my NIAGARA post! I agree with you, there's no question that NIAGARA is a spectacular film noir through and through! Got a kick out of your Poison reference with "every Rose has its thorn," too!

    I'm also very pleased that we're on the same page about NIAGARA being another Best Hitchcock Film That Hitchcock Never Made! Jean Peters was definitely underrated, and I'm glad you agree that she really held her own with co-star Marilyn.

    Thanks for the info about Richard Allan, too! It's too bad he didn't get more opportunities to get serious screen time; as you said, he sure was good-looking enough to snag more movie roles than he did. Oh well, at least we have his steamy Niagara Falls makeout session in NIAGARA to remember him by! :-) Thanks for spending quality time with us here at TotED; feel free to drop by anytime, my friend!

  15. FlickChick, I loved your quip about a potential cameo by Joseph Cotten as SHADOW OF A DOUBT's Uncle Charlie; THERE'S a good vs. evil dust-up I'd like to see! Glad to see you agree about potential smearing issues with siren Marilyn's fire-engine-red lipstick, too! :-) Many thanks for your praise of my NIAGARA post! If any star deserved a Technicolor noir, it was Marilyn Monroe!

  16. Jim, I'm so glad you enjoyed my NIAGARA blog post, especially since I know what a Henry Hathaway fan you are! I'm also very pleased you agree that, a la CHARADE and WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, among others, NIAGARA deserves a place in the Best Hitchcock Film That Hitchcock Never Made pantheon, especially the bell tower scene. Hmm, you know, maybe that's a potential future blogathon in the making! :-)

    I always enjoy your anecdotes about the movies we discuss, and NIAGARA is no exception. Thanks for sharing the story about how Hathaway handled Marilyn vs. Natasha Lytess. I'd say he hit the nail on the head when he said, "You have to have a relationship in order to gain confidence in people."

    While I'm sure James Mason would have been wonderful as George Loomis, I nevertheless feel that Joseph Cotten nailed it; he certainly had every bit as much intensity and neurosis as Cotten in his performance, but Cotten's down-to-earth acting style was exactly right for NIAGARA. Sorry, Portland -- like the man said, "Even the most indulgent father has his limits"! :-)

    Thanks for dropping by to talk NIAGARA, Jim; it's always a delight to have you join in the conversation!

  17. I remember finding Niagara difficult to understand seeing it as a young teen. I thought "Poor Marilyn, mean old Joseph Cotton" at that time. After I got to be older and wiser, I thought just the opposite, as you describe. She was incredibly beautiful in that movie, wasn't she? And her sexuality leaped off the screen in a way to make you blush. I felt sorry for the young couple -- even though Jean Peters' character was important, she was really pretty lost between the powerful roles of Marilyn and Joseph!

    As always, your writing is delightful. Loved "(he’s a regular Lance Romance, that Ray)"!

  18. Becky, I'll admit that I too didn't quite get the, shall we say, complicated relationship between the characters played by Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten when I first saw NIAGARA in that NYC revival house as a tween -- but what a difference a few decades made! :-)

    I agree with you that Marilyn was at her most beautiful and breathtaking! Though Marilyn couldn't help stealing the show, I found Jean Peters both appealing and strong, no small feat under the circumstances! This might sound odd, but I kinda felt that Peters was NIAGARA's Voice of Reason in much the same way as Edward G. Robinson in DOUBLE INDEMNITY.

    And beaucoup thanks for your praise of my writing! I'm especially tickled that you liked "Lance Romance"! You're the best!

  19. Dorian, I'm not a nhuge fan of NIAGRA, but you did a fine job in touting its virtues. I especially like your description of Cotten's character as "at once terrifying and heartbreaking as Rose’s emotionally scarred fool for love/lust, a hard-luck guy who can’t seem to get out of his own way." And I love your point about how Hathaway reveals the finer points of Rose and George’s relationship "in little scenes and throwaway lines." Nicely said!

  20. Niagara, is one of my favorite Marilyn films I also loved her wardrobe for this film(who could ever forget her hot pink dress).. There is lots of action, especially towards the end. The chase scene through the bell tower was suspenseful and the climax on the falls was absolutely breathtaking. I will never forget the scene where George is chasing Polly along the Falls and she slips and breaks through the wooden banister. I thought she was going over for sure.

    I definitely recommend this classic film, for Hitchcock and Monroe fans.

    Awesome post, Dorian!!

  21. Rick, many thanks for your kind words about my NIAGARA post! I'm especially pleased that you liked the little details about the characters, especially Joseph Cotten's portrayal of the complex, troubled George Loomis. Much obliged, my friend!

  22. Dawn, you're a gal after my own heart! Thanks for your kind words; I'm glad to hear that you're a NIAGARA fan, too. If Marilyn's curve-friendly figure and hot pink dress aren't iconic, I don't know what is! :-)

    I quite agree with you about NIAGARA's great action and suspense, as well as such terrific set pieces as the bell tower scene. I thought the final chase on the water had a "Perils of Pauline" serial flavor to it, but it did exactly what those movies do so well: keep us on the edge of our seats with suspense! And you sure can't beat the natural beauty of Niagara Falls itself for scenery. :-) I agree with you, Dawn: NIAGARA is a must-see for fans of both Alfred Hitchcock and Marilyn Monroe! Thanks for dropping by; it's always a treat to have you visit TotED!

  23. I've seen NIAGRA who-knows-how-many-times. The last time (a few nights ago) I tried to imagine the reaction of conformity-burdened movie audiences of the early '50s to Marilyn in that outrageous red dress.

    There's the memorable scene in which guests of the motor court motel are listening to records outside and Marilyn sidles up in THAT DRESS (as obliviously as if she were wearing a simple shirtwaist number) and asks the boy at the record player to play "Kiss Me" (I think that's the title). Amusing. The boy calls Marilyn "lady" (as in "Sure, lady, whatever you want"). Right. As if he wouldn't have melted into a puddle the minute he looked at her...meanwhile, Joseph Cotten peeks out through venetian blinds, watching. Great stuff.

  24. Eve, I very much enjoyed and agree with your observations about that great scene with Marilyn Monroe casting her sexy spell on the motor court crowd! I especially liked your remark "Marilyn sidles up in THAT DRESS (as obliviously as if she were wearing a simple shirtwaist number)."

    I've heard the title of the song as both "Kiss" and "Kiss Me," but either way, that song is a hot number that's tailor-made for the alluring, spellbinding Marilyn. As far as I'm concerned, even if the boy doing the DJ-ing seemed to be keeping his cool, I'm willing to bet he was indeed "a puddle" deep inside! :-) Thanks for dropping by, Eve; feel free to join the TotED conversation anytime!

  25. "...a little daring for a mainstream studio film...." I think Billy Wilder loved "daring". By the way, is that director related to Anne Hathaway?
    --(a different Eve than the one above)

  26. Hey, Eve (as in The Desert Rocks Eve this time :-)), glad to have you drop by TotED, as always! Although I don't think Anne Hathaway is related to movie director Henry Hathaway, I definitely think Billy Wilder feels right at home with "daring"! :-) Hope you and yours are having a fine 2012 so far!

  27. Really enjoyable post on a film that's enjoyable at so many levels, and not just Marilyn's decolletage. My favorite line is what Joseph Cotten says to Jean Peter after he cuts his hand: "Did you think I cut it off?" Always wondered how the film got away with that...

  28. "Niagara" is a problem movie for me. I admire many things about it, but as a whole it leaves me cold. The cinematography really makes a strong impression.

  29. GOM, I'm delighted that you enjoyed my NIAGARA post; thanks ever so much! Loved your quip about Marilyn's decolletage. NIAGARA got away with quite a few sly racy elements, come to think of it. It's one of the many reasons I enjoy NIAGARA so much. Glad you stopped by to join the conversation, as always!

  30. Caftan Woman, although I love NIAGARA in all its tawdry, wicked glory, I know other folks who have mixed emotions about it, too. No problem -- every movie can't please everybody, right? :-) But I'm glad you and I definitely agree that Joe McDonald's breathtaking cinematography is aces. In any case, I'm looking forward to your recommended INTRUDER IN THE DUST, as well as taking a break from all the film noirs I've been blogging about (much as I love them) to take part in the upcoming CMBA Comedy Classics Blogathon, in which Team Bartilucci will tackle BALL OF FIRE and OSCAR. Whether we agree or disagree, CW, I always look forward to your blog posts and comments!

  31. Dorian,
    I'm so sorry it took so long to get to your wonderful review!
    I did like Niagara but I have to admit that I put off watching it for years due to not being that crazy about Cotten! (Just another weird quirk of mine)

    Anyway, I was bored through large parts of the film so your humorous and detailed review makes me feel like I should give it another chance with fresh eyes (meaning, I'll just patch the eye that focuses on Cotten!) Ha Ha

    Laughed about your bit on MM sulking over the cabin fiasco. Nothing worse than dragging yourself to Niagara only to be stuck with a view of trees and Cotten! Grrrr

    Your reviews are always a treat and this one didn't disappoint!

  32. Page, I'm glad you enjoyed my NIAGARA post; thanks a million! Your delightful comments are always worth waiting for, even if Joseph Cotten isn't part of the fabric of your life. :-) Although I like Cotten more than you do (Cotten may not be Cary Grant or Adrien Brody, but who among us is? :-)), I nevertheless got a good laugh out of "I'll just patch the eye that focuses on Cotten"! Thanks for your feedback, Page; I'm looking forward to your upcoming EASY LIVING post for the Comedy Classics Blogathon!

  33. Hey Dorian, sorry I've not been by much. I've got a bad case of writers block.Dawn has asked me to help her on her new blog Music of the 60's and 70's,so you might want to check it out, you can be sure that I'll get some Dave, and Nick over there,and Brian Auger, Peter Green, Yardbirds(Jeff Beck ) Brian Jones Stones, and other stuff. I wonder if she's ready for Gentle Giant PFM,and Dr. Feelgood?

  34. Paul 2, it's always great to have you drop by TotED! As a writer myself, I can certainly sympathize with your writer's block, and I hope you'll pull through it soon. So Dawn has an actual new blog about music, as opposed to writing about music in her already-existing blog NOIR AND CHICK FLICKS? How exciting, especially considering you mentioned many of my favorite singers/bands! I look forward to seeing Dawn's new music blog when it's ready!

  35. No need to wait it's linked at Noir and Chick Flicks. Got a Cream post today . And I'm looking forward to your take on Ball Of Fire.

  36. Jean Peters was gorgeous. She was made up to look comely in this flick, but then she made Pickup on South Street right after NIAGARA, and -oh, boy! She was hot in that one. Even though I liked Marilyn a lot, I think Peters was really more beautiful as a female -inside and out. And she was truly the main female character in NIAGARA as far as importance in the film's script. The film holds after Marilyn is murdered half way through the film up to the end, thanks to her. Jean could act!

    1. Andy, we of Team Bartilucci think Jean Peters has always been superb in her performances, and I for one thought she was very appealing in NIAGARA as the voice of reason in this film. I must admit I haven't seen PICK UP ON SOUTH STREET, but I've heard many raves about it, so I'll have to catch up with it! Thanks for dropping by TOTED to chat about NIAGARA! :-D