Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Mon, 04/29/2013 - 10:00pm

Pictured: A panorama of the American falls

Credit: Courtesy of Eileen Elibol ©WNED

More than a celebration of a natural wonder, Niagara Falls is a study of human achievement and human folly on an epic scale.

A tale of affable lunacy and high drama, it’s also a story of danger and desire. The breathtaking falls were the nation’s first great symbol, an emblem for the vast untamed continent with its beauty and limitless resources. What happened to that beauty, and those resources, is the story of Niagara Falls, airing Monday, April 29 at 9 p.m. on WXXI World. Mariette Hartley narrates.

With spectacular HD videography, on-the-spot interviews and quirky archival imagery, Niagara Falls tells the story of the site that serves as much more than North America’s honeymoon refuge. Rare newsreel footage introduces some of the daredevils who continually challenged gravity and themselves to impress curious crowds. The film shines a spotlight on the unique individuals who celebrate the history and grandeur of Niagara Falls in their own inimitable way, and on the groups who maintain the falls as a destination for twenty million visitors every year.

However, the abiding star of Niagara Falls is the awesome and photogenic cascade itself. Compelling visuals take viewers right to the edge of the falls by helicopter and boat. Capturing stunning images in every season, Niagara Fallscreates lyrical poems of rainbows and mist, but also reveals a staggering force and violence that is very much a part of Niagara Falls’ magnetism.

“The falls is among the most documented, filmed and painted sites in the world; strangely, it has always spurred very different responses,” said executive producer John Grant. “It has inspired genius, greed, fear, affection, virtue, romance and passion. Niagara, in short, describes us, over and over again. With this quirky and fascinating film, we count the ways.”

The story of Niagara Falls is not a straightforward narrative, but rather a story of rises and falls. It tells of exploitation and preservation — of the rise of technology and the changing nature of love in America — of the way man has related to nature over centuries.