Niagara. 1953. USA. Directed by Henry Hathaway. 92 min.
Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, Richard L. Breen. With Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters. A publicity still for Hathaway’s atmospheric and chromatically charged noir served as the inspiration for one of the most famous images in 20th-century art: Andy Warhol’s Marilyn. Set against the roaring backdrop of Niagara Falls, the film revolves around Monroe, a femme fatale with secret, murderous plans for her older husband (Cotten), and a honeymooning young couple who become entangled in her ill-fated scheme. “Its color is alive,” wrote Eric Rohmer in Cahiers du Cinéma, “it speaks, even if it is a shade on the vulgar side.” For Rohmer, color processes like Technicolor had the power to “reveal an iridescence that has become imperceptible to the human eye after a hundred years of responding to a world put together by photography.” 35mm print courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.