On a scenic trail near powerful Niagara Falls I’m kissing my very handsome young boyfriend and we’re planning what to do about my husband Joseph Cotten who’s been released from an army psychiatric hospital but is even worse now, a haunted man wandering around early every morning, and later today he scares guests in our motel room by breaking a record and storming out. Pretty Jean Peters goes into the other room to put a band-aid on his cut and is shocked when Joseph says I’m always parading around, showing my body, and that I’m a tramp. He warns Jean not to let love for her husband get out of control like the falls.
Joseph keeps right on embarrassing me, telling Jean and her husband about his job failures, and he accuses me of wanting people to think he’s crazy. Then he throws something at the wall and breaks open the wound.
“You like to suffer,” Jean tells him.
I guess he does but what Joseph really likes is making me suffer and I’m not going to tolerate it anymore. On the phone I tell my boyfriend that I’ll bring Joseph, who everyone can see is suicidal, near the falls. While he’s hiking, I buy two bus tickets and wait for a better life. The next day I’m still holding two bus tickets and haven’t heard anything and tell people I’m worried about my husband. At the place where people leave their shoes and rent galoshes I’m told there was one pair of unclaimed shoes yesterday. They’re Joseph’s, and a body has been found under the falls. I try to look sad but am a relieved widow at the morgue to identify the body. When the sheet is raised, I faint, and they sedate me in a hospital.
When I awake I demand, “Get the director in here.”
Henry Hathaway soon arrives.
“I’m getting the man I want,” I say.
“Marilyn, that’s a major part of the script you agreed to.”
“I’m not going to live like that.”
“You have to,” Henry says.
“Then you live with Joseph Cotten.”
“Even if I agreed with your aspirations, I could do nothing. Your boyfriend, as you know, has already been maimed.”
“You’ll make an even more important change or I won’t film anymore.”
“Marilyn, either fulfill your professional obligations or you’ll be terminated from this film and likely all in the future.”
“Get out,” I say.
I’ve got to quit being so weak and vulnerable. I’m the one millions want so shouldn’t always be mistreated on and off camera. I know what to do. I get up and dress and slip out of the hospital. I’m going to get out of Canada but there’s Joseph, wearing my boyfriend’s shoes. He chases me and I run up stairs of the bell tower, and then up more stairs, but he’s a big strong man and catches me in a room at the top and with both hands he grabs my neck. The bells toll not for me but Joseph on concrete, my knife in his gut.
“Goddamn it, Marilyn,” shouts Henry Hathaway. “You’ve ruined my great getaway when Joseph knocks out Jean Peters in a boat heading slowly rapidly toward Niagara Falls.”
“I’ll wait until night and hire a couple of men to carry Joseph’s body to the boat and cut it loose.”
“I think it’s a nice dramatic touch.”
“I’m speaking morally,” says Hathaway.
“From now on I’ll be writing all my scripts and this one’s fine because I’m sparing Joseph Cotten a lifetime of hatred for murdering Marilyn Monroe in Niagara.”