Niagara: A Poisoned Rose

One of Marilyn’s edgier roles – as Rose Loomis in Niagara – will be screened at Film Forum, NYC, on July 22, as part of a Femmes Noir series. Writing for the Village Voice, Stephanie Zacharek takes another look at one of Marilyn’s most unsettling performances.

“This isn’t a Marilyn you want to embrace and protect. As Rose, she’s alert and defiant, a woman who has defined exactly what she wants and has forged a plan to help her get it. This performance, among the star’s finest, gives the lie to the idea that she couldn’t really act. What it suggests, instead, is that Marilyn was a natural: Her desire to be taken seriously as an actor, and her subsequent serious study of the craft, may have made her more self-conscious, constraining her gifts rather than opening a conduit for them. In Niagara, Marilyn’s Rose is self-determined, boldly sexual, almost impossibly cruel. And still, you feel for her: Mincing along in high-heeled sandals and a suit the color of a brazen afternoon sky, on the way to meet her lover — a wily operator who’s as slick as Cotten’s George is rumpled — Rose is everything that good girls have been taught not to be. But there’s also a gorgeous futility radiating from her soul: Sometimes there’s just no cure for the nagging malady of wanting something more.”


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