Marilyn Monroe

NIAGARA (1953)

Niagara Marilyn Monroe

YOU THINK YOU CAN TRY TO THROW JOSEPH COTTEN OVER THE FALLS AND HE’LL TAKE IT LYING DOWN?! HUH?! COTTEN DON’T THINK SO!!!

Planned as one of Marilyn Monroe’s first starring vehicles, Niagara is an entertaining little tale of infidelity and murder set against the backdrop of the world famous falls. Monroe didn’t have the acting chops to pull off the femme fatale role, so for most of the film she parades around in slinky dresses and tight sweaters, without doing much of anything. There is one scene where she sings along to a record – completely off key and tempo. It’s awkward and painful to watch. At least Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, and Max Showalter (with his terrifying grin) are there to pick up her slack.

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THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950)

The Asphalt Jungle

John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle is a tremendously influential film that hits just as hard today as it did in 1950. When it comes to caper films, this bad bitch laid down the blueprint. Much like Rififi five years later, The Asphalt Jungle worried the studio and other tight-assed conservatives due to the detailed depiction of its heist. Suits were afraid that less morally bound people would attempt to imitate the caper. That was 64 years ago. After watching it today, I don’t feel influenced to rip off a high-end jewelry store, but I would like to imitate Sterling Hayden’s aggressively gritty masculinity. Shot with Huston’s naturalistic visual style and featuring an ensemble of baddasses, The Asphalt Jungle is an essential noir.

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