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FOX

MOVIE INFO
Director:
Henry Hathaway
Cast:
Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Max Showalter, Denis O'Dea
Screenplay:
Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch

Tagline:
A raging torrent of emotion that even nature can't control!

MPAA:
Not Rated.

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 1.0
French DTS 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0
Castillian DTS 2.0
German DTS 5.1
Italian DTS 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Castillian
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
German
Italian
Norwegian
Brazilian Portuguese
Swedish
Croatian
Czech
Greek
Hungarian
Icelandic
Polish
Portuguese
Turkish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 7/30/2013

Bonus:
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Niagara [Blu-Ray] (1953)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 21, 2013)

For 1953ís Niagara, we find Marilyn Monroe in a somewhat unusual position: the femme fatale. The film casts her as she plays Rose, the new wife of older, troubled veteran George Loomis (Joseph Cotten). Though on their honeymoon, the couple bickers quite a lot, and we see that George displays a serious temper.

We also meet another young couple, Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray Cutler (Max Showalter). Polly quickly grows suspicious of the events that surround the other couple, and when George apparently dies, things take a turn for the weird.

It becomes clear that Rose plotted with her lover Ted Patrick (Richard Allan), but although she identified a corpse as Georgeís, Polly claims to see him in their bungalow. Polly tries to convince her husband and the authorities that they have the wrong dead dude, but no one listens, and she eventually becomes involved in the various events herself, a course that inevitably leads her into danger.

ĒInevitableĒ is probably the best word to describe the events that occur during Niagara. Very little of the plot comes as a surprise, as virtually all of the ďtwistsĒ and events seem telegraphed. The movie tries to gain depth from its setting, but those attempts appear pretty hokey and laughable. We hear some metaphors that connect relationships and the Falls, but these come across as silly and forced.

Because the events contain so little tension, we must rely on the characters to provide interest. Unfortunately, they fail to do so. Cotten offers the strongest performance of the bunch; although all of the roles are thin and underwritten, he brings a nice sense of weariness and desperation to the part.

Peters is lovely but insubstantial as Polly; frankly, I think sheís much prettier and sexier than Monroe, but she does little to distinguish herself as an actress. Still, that tops Showalter, who offers such an annoying presence as Ray that I continually hoped heíd go over the Falls himself!

As for Marilyn, itís interesting to see her play this kind of part. She didnít often portray such a conniving bitch, so itís cool to watch her do something different. However, she doesnít accomplish much in the role. She overplays Rose, perhaps in an attempt to wring some drama from this tepid vehicle.

Unfortunately, she fails, as Niagara offers nothing more than a tame and tired thriller. The predictable flick provides little tension or depth, as it just grinds along from one bland plot twist to another. I canít call Niagara a terrible film, for it fails to muster that level of passion in me. Instead, it simply seems relentlessly bland and ordinary.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Niagara appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I felt pleased with this appealing presentation.

Sharpness caused a few minor concerns. For the most part, the image remained accurate and well defined, but light softness materialized at times. These instances didnít create notable distractions, though. Jagged edges and moirť effects presented no issues, and I didnít notice edge enhancement of intrusive noise reduction. A clean presentation, the transfer lacked any specks, marks or other print flaws.

Colors came across quite well. The movie featured a natural palette, with a bit of an emphasis on brown that was typical for Technicolor. Various hues looked peppy when necessary, though, and seemed pleasing. Black levels appeared acceptably deep and dense, and low-light shots demonstrated nice smoothness and clarity. This was an image that looked very nice, especially given the fact it just hit its 60th anniversary.

In addition to the filmís original monaural audio, we got a new DTS-HD MA 5.1 remix. I usually prefer to watch movies with their theatrical tracks Ė and would opt for the mono if not reviewing the title Ė I found the 5.1 version to work surprisingly well.

The storyís natural setting benefited the most from the remix, as the Falls opened up the spectrum in an involving way. These popped up with relative frequency, and they used the five channels to immerse us in the water-based environment. Even quieter scenes ensured that we heard reminders of the Falls, and those created a pretty natural feel.

Other scenes lacked as much pizzazz, but they formed a nice sense of place. Music stayed fairly monaural; the score spread gently to the sides but didnít show real stereo presence. Other effects created a moderate impression of the locations, but the Falls remained the most impressive element.

Audio quality held up well for its age. Speech lacked edginess and seemed pretty concise and clear. Effects had nice range and punch, especially when the Falls roared. Music sounded smooth and lush. This was one of the better 5.1 remixes Iíve heard in a while.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2002? The 5.1 remix was a substantial improvement over the DVDís boomy, loose, and tinny stereo reworking, and visuals were a lot better, too. The Blu-ray appeared tighter, cleaner and better defined than the DVD. This was a nice upgrade.

Only minor extras appear here. In addition to the trailer for Niagara, we get promos for Bus Stop, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, River of No Return, The Seven-Year Itch, and Thereís No Business Like Show Business.

The Blu-ray drops some of the DVDís extras, but we donít lose anything substantial. The Blu-ray lacks some still photos and a restoration demonstration; neither goes missed.

With Marilyn Monroe in the part of a fairly nasty little shrew, Niagara possessed the potential to be something unusual in her roster of films. Unfortunately, the movie succeeded as nothing more than a dull and obvious thriller with no sense of ingenuity or life. The Blu-ray delivers very good picture and audio but lacks substantial bonus materials. I donít care much for the movie itself, but the Blu-ray brings it home in a satisfying manner.

To rate this film, visit the original review of NIAGARA

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