“For a dress like that, you have to start laying plans when you’re about thirteen.”
While in Niagara Falls, a honeymooning couple (Jean Peters and Casey Adams) becomes unwittingly involved in the deadly marital tensions of their troubled neighbors, sexy Rose Loomis (Marilyn Monroe) and her husband George (Joseph Cotten).
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “taut melodrama” — best known for starring Marilyn Monroe in one of her few “bad girl” roles — benefits from director Henry Hathaway’s “strong use of color, sharp camera angles, and location shooting — particularly around the falls.” The pulpy noir screenplay (co-written by Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, and Richard Breen) is clever, with several unexpected twists along the way, and a refreshingly three-dimensional, psychologically ambiguous “villain” (Cotten). Monroe is as sexy as ever, and Hathaway manages to captures her at her sultry best, whether writhing nude under the covers or flaunting her bodacious curves in form-fitting dresses and skirts; although she’s not the primary protagonist (that designation goes to Peters), she’s clearly the main attraction of the film. Peters, meanwhile, is effectively gutsy as the “all American housewife” who finds herself drawn into her neighbors’ dysfunction; it’s too bad she’s saddled with such a lame-brain husband (Adams, a.k.a. Max Showalter), whose very presence grates on one’s nerves.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Marilyn Monroe in a rare “wicked woman” performance
- Jean Peters as Polly Cutler
- Excellent use of Niagara Falls locales
- Several genuinely tense and exciting scenes
- Effective “Technicolor noir” cinematography
Yes, simply to see Monroe in a rare “bad girl” performance.