Posted by Hedwig on September 17, 2008
My parents recently gave me three wonderful, old-fashioned linen posters of Casablanca, Gone with the Wind and Niagara. My love for the former has been well-documented here, and the middle one I’ve seen twice, but the latter? I’d never even heard of it, depite it starring Marylin Monroe and Joseph Cotten.
By accident, we acquired three (3!) copies of it, however, and tonight I watched this movie, reputed to be “the first noir in color”, with my father.
Let me start by saying I’ve never been a huge Monroe-fan. I understand her appeal, to a certain extent, the doomed glamour she represents, and far be it from me to dismiss her as a dumb blonde, but I’ve personally never been that fascinated by her. They camera does love her, and she’s beautifully photographed here, but then again, so are the Niagara falls.
They’re woven into the story in interesting ways, and turn out to be much more than just a pretty backdrop, but the rest of the plot isn’t quite as complex. It is interesting because some crucial scenes are left to our imagination, and because unlike most other noirs, there are innocents here who escape relatively unscathed (oops, was that a spoiler?). The scene in the bell tower is classic noir though, and Joseph Cotten plays the tortured protagonist well.
I can understand why this film never became a classic like the other two movies whose posters I now own. But if you like noir and/or Monroe, it’s worth an hour and a half of your time.