"Niagara" shot Monroe to superstardom as psych-ward outpatient Joseph Cotten's unlucky wife. The majestic, cataclysmic waterfalls, which are given plenty of satisfying closeups in the film and beg interpretation as one big, bawdy sexual innuendo, seem like an apt co-star for Monroe. Producer Nunnally Johnson thought the same thing, as he quipped that the actress was "a force of nature, like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon." Monroe wears a famous, curve-hugging pink dress in a key sequence of the film, and Jean Peters' character notes: "To wear a dress like that, you've gotta start laying plans at about 13."
Not included in the TCM lineup but certainly worth a look: Roy Ward Baker's "Don't Bother to Knock," a good atmospheric noir featuring one of Monroe's best performances, as a psychologically damaged babysitter who should not be left alone with children; John Huston's bizarre Western drama "The Misfits," which is both Monroe and Clark Gable's final film, co-stars Montgomery Clift after his near-fatal 1956 car accident, and was reportedly one long bender for Huston; and Joseph L. Mankiewicz' "All About Eve" -- one small role for Monroe, one great film for acerbic showbiz enthusiasts everywhere.
More upcoming Monroe 50th anniversary memorial events and programming:
- The Hollywood Museum's "Marilyn Monroe: The Exhibit" / An Intimate Look At The Legend (1926 –1962), the largest exhibit of authentic Marilyn items spanning Monroe’s illustrious life. The exhibit includes a special exhibition of items from Scott Fortner The Marilyn Monroe Collection and The Greg Schreiner Marilyn Monroe Collection as well as an exclusive George Barris Photography collection.
- LIFE.com publishes a series of black-and-white photos of Monroe.
- Strand bookstore in New York hosts writer-director-photojournalist Laurence Schiller on August 2 as he talks about his new book, "Marilyn & Me."
- Liz Garbus' documentary "Love, Marilyn" will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
- The American Cinematheque in Los Angeles screens "River of No Return," along with a book signing by Lois Banner of "Marilyn: The Paradox and the Passion," on August 5.
- PBS airs the award-winning 2006 American Masters documentary "Marilyn Monroe: Still Life" on August 5.
- Palm Springs displays the controversial "Forever Marilyn" 34,000-pound, 26-foot statue of Monroe from "The Seven Year Itch"
- Barnes & Noble online offers 50% off Susan Bernard's "Marilyn: Intimate Exposures."