7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Marilyn as a villainess: what a treat!,
This review is from: Niagara (DVD)
Let me just say first that I am a HUGE Marilyn fan and in my eyes, she can do no wrong. Well, with a few exceptions... I didn't enjoy all of her movies equally and some are not really that great in my humble opinion ("Bus Stop" comes to mind as an overrated bore...). The fact is that, along with "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Some Like It Hot", "Niagara" is one of my favorite Marilyn movies, over such obvious choices as "The Seven Year Itch" and "How to Marry a Millionaire".
In Niagara, Monroe looks dazzling and, for the first and only time, plays a true villainess. Nowadays, we all remember Monroe for her ditzy blonde characters in which she sadly became typecast. But in this, she displays a knack for playing a would-be murderess intent on offing her husband played by Joseph Cotten with the help of her lover. She eventually ends up being the one murdered by her husband in the final scene.
The storyline is not really sizzling and the other actors don't really retain our interest much, all of them eclipsed by Marilyn who shines like a spotlight. But the plot doesn't really matter. What is important is that we can see Monroe portraying a real grown-up woman and furthermore, with an evil side. I truly loved seeing Monroe use her electrifying sexual charisma as a weapon. She obviously enjoyed playing such a departure from her other screen appearances and we can certainly understand why.
Monroe plays the character of "Rose Loomis" with an intensity and a coldness that perfectly matches her voluptuous appearance. She looks radiant in the very famous "red dress" while softly singing "Kiss" in a very tight close-up with a look of bliss on her face which shows that the character truly enjoys having such a devastating sexual power over men. She tourments her husband by refusing him sexual favors with a cruel glee in her eyes.
Sadly, Marilyn would never be given the chance to play an evil woman again and it's a shame because in Niagara, we see just how good she could be at being bad. From this point on, she would become trapped after her "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" role into playing innocent and vulnerable women. She would never be allowed again to play a woman with such an awareness of her own sexual power on the silver screen.
It makes me sad to see just how wasted her potential was. But fortunately, we have Niagara to show us a darker side of Monroe. I give this movie 5 stars, not because of its story which is somewhat [bad] nor for the acting which is, except for Monroe, rather uninspired. But rather, because it is the film that succeeded in showing us a different facet of the most celebrated Movie Goddess of all time.