Sunday, January 11, 2009

Incongruous couples

I mentioned the casting as husband and wife of Wallace Beery and Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight. If you think that's odd, tune in to TCM at 8:00 PM ET on January 11 for Niagara.

The couple here is Marilyn Monroe and... Joseph Cotten, playing George and Rose Loomis. They take a vacation to Niagara falls, with Cotten not knowing that Monroe is taking her there with the intention of killing him! She's fallen in love with another man, and the two of them decide that Cotten's not the most stable man mentally, so they're going to cause him to have an "accident" at Niagara Falls.

In the meantime, the Loomises meet another couple at the bungalow resort they're staying at, the Cutlers. Mrs. Cutler tries to comfort Mrs. Loomis after the loss of Mr. Loomis, but strange things start happeing. Indeed, Mrs. Cutler thinks she's seen the ghost of the dead Mr. Loomis!

Niagara isn't that bad a movie. Monroe is generally remembered for her comedies, but she was a better actress than that. She is more than capable of handling the material in a movie like Niagara. Cotten is good, as always. The rest of the cast, however, is filled with relative unknowns, and they don't give Niagara the heft that it really deserves.

On the other hand, Niagara also has beautiful scenery. It's in color, and as such, it's a lovely look at how the once-popular honeymoon destination (back in the days when overnight train was the easiest way to travel somewhere) looked 55 years ago. Thankfully, Niagara has been released to DVD.

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