Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Niagara (1953)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Niagara (1953)

Director Henry Hathaway's Techni-colored melodramatic noir provided the perfect star vehicle for curvy sexpot Marilyn Monroe (advertised as a "tantalizing temptress whose kisses fired men's souls!"). It was a tale about the destructive nature of a femme fatale's alluring, out of control sensuality and lust as she plotted to kill her husband.

There were two memorable hip-bouncing walking scenes with Marilyn, first briefly in a light blue dress, and then another scene of Rose's backside in a tight black dress and red top, walking away from the camera. She was compared to the metaphoric ever-present roar of the famous Niagara Falls in one of the film's taglines:

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

The film's main setting was at the Rainbow Cabins (modern housekeeping units) within sight of the landmark, famed Niagara Falls vacation spot, where tension quickly developed between a married couple who were vacationing together (on the Canadian side):

  • Rose Loomis (26 year-old Marilyn Monroe), a beautiful, voluptuous and young sexy blonde woman who was a sinfully-wayward, unhappily married woman and trashy femme fatale
  • George Loomis (Joseph Cotten), a depressed and emotionally-unstable shell-shocked Korean War veteran
Rose Loomis (Marilyn Monroe)

In the film's opening, the sensual, adulterous Rose was lounging naked in her bed sheets in her cabin next to the Falls.

Two others (on a 'delayed' honeymoon after two years of marriage) who arrived at the Cabins from Toledo, Ohio were pretty Polly (Jean Peters, who later married Howard Hughes) and clean-cut Ray Cutler (Casey Adams). They became friends with the Loomis couple, but soon suspected something was wrong with the troubled pair.

During a trip to the scenic tourist tunnel under Horseshoe Falls, Polly spotted Rose kissing a man not her husband - she told Ray: "Didn't that Mrs. Loomis say she was going shopping?...Well, she sure got herself an armful of groceries." The trashy Rose was cheating on her husband, and engaged in an affair with Ted Patrick (Richard Allan), her secret young lover. Rose and Ted had together arranged to murder George and make his death look like a suicide, to collect on George's life insurance policy.

Rose's most flaunting appearance was in a tight-fitting, low-cut pinkish-red dress at an outdoor teenaged dance party at the Cabins, where she asked that the DJ play the record, "Kiss" (the illicit lovers' theme song) and then sat closeby and listened, telling Ray and Polly: "There isn't any other song." She sang along:

"With all your heart's protection, This is a moment of thrill. Thrill me, Thrill me, with your charm, Take me, Take me in your arms, And make my life perfection, Take me, Darling, don't forsake me, Kiss me, Hold me tight, Love me, Love me tonight."

Sexy Rose Loomis (Marilyn Monroe) Openly Flaunting Herself

Her angry and crazed husband interrupted the romantic musical interlude by racing from their cabin and destroying the LP with his bare hands (and cutting himself). Later, George provided information to Polly about how he had become mixed up with Polly. He was a failing sheep rancher who met Rose in a Duluth, MI beer hall where she worked as a waitress. He described the reason for his rage against her:

"Parading around, showing herself off in that dress, cut down so low in front you can see her kneecaps...She'd like to wear that dress where everybody could see her, right in the middle of Yankee Stadium. She's a tramp! I tell you now so you won't have to ask."

Rose had a provocative conversation with her husband who suspected that she was scheming and plotting with another man against him:

George: "You smell like a dimestore. I know what that means."
Rose: "Sure. I'm meeting somebody. Just anybody handy as long as he's a man...Anybody suits me, take your pick."

George followed after Rose and confirmed his suspicions. Ted had written her a message on the back of an unmailed postcard: "If everything OK you'll hear the Bell Tower play our song - See you in Chicago." After Ted had killed George, he would request the Rainbow Tower Carillon to play Rose's special song ("Kiss") to signal that George was dead. Soon after, George was reported as a "missing person" - and a pair of George's unclaimed shoes were discovered at the exit to the scenic tourist tunnel under Horseshoe Falls. The Bell Tower carillon played, causing Rose to believe that Ted had murdered George.

Murder Plot
George's Unclaimed Shoes
The Shock of Seeing Ted's Body at Morgue

In reality, George had killed Patrick in self-defense and thrown his body into the Falls, and then decided to "stay dead" to start his life over (by collecting Patrick's shoes at the exit instead of his own). At first, Rose believed that George was dead until she visited the city morgue, where she was called upon to identify a retrieved body from the Falls. She was shocked that the dead man was Ted, not George - she fainted and collapsed.

Sleeping in the Loomis' cabin, Polly was frightened when she momentarily glimpsed a view of the supposedly-dead George in her room (he had come to kill Rose) - it was interpreted as a nightmare. Shortly later at the falls, George confronted Polly privately and explained his predicament, and pleadingly begged: "Please, I'd do the same for you if it meant as much. Let me stay dead."

George conducted a revenge killing in the film's most suspenseful sequence. Rose's jealous and incensed husband stalked and pursued his scheming and trampish wife who was trying to flee. He followed her up a shadowy, carillon clock-bell tower before murdering her by strangulation (in a striking overhead shot). Then he told her corpse: "I loved you, Rose. You know that."

George's Revenge Murder of Rose
George: "I loved you Rose. You know that"

In the exciting and climactic finale, Polly and George (who hijacked the boat that she was on) were adrift (the boat ran out of gas) and heading toward the waterfall precipice. A desperate George tried to submerge and scuttle the boat, but went over the falls to his death, while she was rescued by helicopter from a rock outcropping.

Two Rear-Views of Rose

The Torrential Niagara Falls

George Loomis (Joseph Cotten)

Other Honeymooners at the Cabins: Polly and Ray Cutler

Polly Spotting Rose's Adulterous Rendezvous with Ted Patrick

Enraged George Destroying "Kiss" LP Record

Trampish Rose: "Anybody suits me, take your pick"

Polly's Fright at Seeing the "Dead" George in her Cabin

George Begging Polly: "Please... let me stay dead"

Kidnapped Polly on Boat with George, Heading Toward Falls

George Saving Polly

Polly Watching George's Death Before Being Rescued


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