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  • Theatrical trailer
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20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 85 mins . PG . PAL


Life’s a funny thing, innit? Take John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, for example. In 1953, when this film was released, J.F.K. was probably sitting in the White House Private Theatre, thinking “Phwoar, what a curvy little strumpet! I wouldn’t mind checking out her Niagara Falls one day.” Little did he know that a few years later he’d be doing just that, and maybe a few other unmentionable things, with the very same blonde bombshell. But then, like most relationships, it got all nasty and he had her killed to make sure she wouldn’t blab state secrets. A little later on, who’d have guessed he’d wind up with a magic bullet or three through his noggin, and the last two things to go through his mind – other than bullets, that is – were probably "F**K!" and then “Well, that kind of serves me right, doesn’t it?”

Like I said, life’s a funny thing.

More’s the pity, too. For Niagara shows that when she wanted to pull her finger out of her big butt, she actually could act dramatically. Rather than the image most people can recall of her, wiggling her arse around the set and talking asthmatically into the camera while pouting those big luscious lips, she had a few fine talents, not least of which were upfront.

But alas, poor Marilyn the thespian, t’was not to be.

Instead, we are left to consider what might have been and what was, with the legacy of her work now on the DVD format. In this instalment of the vast Marilyn Monroe Collection, we see her take the part of a conniving seductress bitch prepping to off her possibly mentally unstable husband, so she can settle with a more mentally stable, younger and more virile man. Set at the glorious foot of Niagara Falls, the perfect image of all that is both beautiful and destructive in nature (yet still no match for Marilyn), all is going to plan until she is interrupted by the untimely arrival of a young and full of beans honeymooning couple. As they all become entwined, dastardly plots thicken and dirty deeds unravel to the symphony of a million litres of water prophetically gushing into oblivion.

Kudos go out belatedly to Marilyn for her effort here. She walked the walk and talked the talk of a shifty sexy tramp up to no damn good. Although the role called for a little more restraint than she was used to, naturally she did get to flaunt a little of the blatant sexuality that was her trademark. It’s kept to a bare minimum, with just a bit of arse sashaying and slinky, boobs thrust-forward reclining. They could have had a number of Hollywood stars play her part, but none would have brought the allure of a simmering sauce of sex boiling just below the surface to the role.

Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it? A simmering sauce of sex. Lot’s of slowly sauntering S’s rolling sexily off her shapely tongue in a sloppy slip of saliva. You can see her bubbling away, steaming up the kitchen with carnal thoughts and forbidden desires. And then she drives a knife through your heart while you stare at her cold manipulative eyes, taunting you as you draw in your last breath while her mind floats off to the next person she’s going to string along in an endless succession of hapless fools stricken by her damning yet captivating beauty…

...what the hell am I talking about?

Do you see what that ravishing harpy does to you?


Filmed in the Academy ratio of 1.37:1, this DVD has been transferred as a full frame image, and has that unique Technicolour look that I love in the oldies which used that process. As revealed in the side-by-side comparison in the Extra Features, the restored film elements blow chunks off the video master, and will have you throwing copies of this film in any other format out with your stinking trash. Good riddance, I say! Marilyn deserves better. With varying fine grain, nice colours (check out Marilyn’s lips for a nice red.. “mmmmm…”) and softness just a little on the wrong side at times, it’s not quite up with, say, Hitchcock’s Vertigo which underwent a full-on restoration, nor is it even the best looking picture from this collection, but it still looks plenty pretty.

Still, it’s not without one mentionable quirk. From time to time, you’ll notice that the image becomes a bit blurry and the colours bleed for very brief periods. It looks like a colour mis-registration issue with the source, or something like that. This occurs a number of times, and the distraction level will vary. I’ve decided that it’s not reason enough to trash the picture, as apart from that it’s lucky that the print looks as good as it does.


I’m an easy going kind of guy, and I’m easily pleased, and what I heard on this DVD was ample to satisfy my simplicity. Presented here for your aural enjoyment in pleasant, simple, yet reasonably effective Dolby Digital 2.0, it conveyed the grand roar of Niagara while also keeping the sometimes hushed dialogue audible at a pleasant and clear level. Nothing terribly effective occurs to push the sound into leaps and wonders, and the louder moments do tend to sound a little rough, but a mono soundtrack – especially one which is half a century old – can only be asked to do so much, which Niagara handles well.


There's nothing terribly exciting to ponder, with just a black and white Theatrical Trailer, a brief Stills Gallery containing a mix of publicity, production and in-film snaps, and a Restoration Comparison to show the difference between the current restored print and the previous restoration.


You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t mentioned any of the other actors in this film. It’s for a good reason, as this is Marilyn’s little star vehicle. Whether intentional or not, she’s the centre of this film’s universe, and all the other parts seemed to have been cast accordingly. That’s not to say they’re weak roles or anything, just that Ol’ WigglyButt steals the show whenever she’s on screen. I’d definitely recommend checking this out if your appreciation of her is limited to just her camp ditzy-blonde roles.

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      And I quote...
    "Marilyn walks the walk and talks the talk of a shifty sexy tramp up to no damn good. And DAMN! What a walk she has..."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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