Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1953. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, Richard L. Breen. Cinematography by Joseph MacDonald. Produced by Charles Brackett. Music by Sol Kaplan. Production Design by Maurice Ransford, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Dorothy Jeakins. Film Editing by Barbara McLean.
Marilyn Monroe portrays one of her most morally complex characters as a woman who plots to get her war vet husband (played by Joseph Cotton) murdered while vacationing at North America’s most famous honeymoon destination (specifically, ahem, on the Canadian side of the falls). Jean Peters and Max Showalter are on their own delayed honeymoon when they accidentally get entangled in the other couple’s marital troubles, with Monroe’s plans backfiring before Peters ends up going for a very dangerous boat ride in the Niagara River. Normally the lack of back story for a character’s bad behaviour makes a story feel judgmental and shallow, but with Monroe’s naturally complicated screen persona portraying her, the character’s unexplained frustration with her marriage just seems that much more mysterious and genuine, while the film’s sultry, moody plot is wonderfully counterbalanced with the richly photographed beauty of the popular tourist location.