Directed by Henry Hathaway
A couple on a belated honeymoon to Niagara Falls gets entangled in a murder mystery.
The first one that should be noted is Marilyn Monroe as Rose Loomis. So often the clips you see of her are her just being sexy while delivering a one note piece of dialogue. It is very bland stuff that the media puts out from her. Here Monroe does show ability. She has some real moments of acting. She was not a sex pot that merely traded on her looks as her pop-culture image implies. It is unfortunate that such an image is becoming more and more her legacy.
Even though it is supposed to be a mystery, there is not much mystery in this mystery film. You know the who’s and the why’s and the where’s in pretty short order.
The acting is amazing, and the visuals are stunning. The script and the characters are what carry the story. There are some twists and turns along the way and it was a wise decision to set a murder story in a location that would normally be in a romantic film.
The film is just beautiful to look at. I’m not talking just about the scenery shots, but the colors used are just so rich and pull you in. The process used here created something striking. They used something called three strip Technicolor and maybe that is why it all looked so beautiful.
One of the better twists in this film is that the husband George (Joseph Cotton) is actually alive. It’s a great turn of events. Though given that he hates his wife and she tried to kill him, and it is implied he wants to start over, it is odd that he did not just leave. Rather he lurks around and then plots revenge.
One thing that does bother me is the other couple of Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray Cutler (Max Showalter billed as Casey Adams. I don’t know why but I WILL find out). More specifically Ray. Ray is a great deal of “Darn it all to heck!” in attitude and is playing it like the typical teenage character of the day rather than a mature husband. I know things were done a little differently back then but what they did here with him is awkward.
Another is that the film just seems to abruptly end. I mean there is an ending, but it just seems a little bit too short. Supposedly there are some scenes that were taken out which might explain that feeling. It is a little detrimental to the film but not destructive since the film is considered a classic these days.
This is a film that took far too long for me to get to. It is not a nail biter, but it is a solid story with great acting that deserves its status.