I’m starting off comedy as our Favorite of the Month for December with the film which helped to immortalise Marilyn Monroe as a sex symbol. Even if you haven’t seen The Seven Year Itch there is no doubt you would have seen posters and images of Monroe as she stood there above a subway grating, her white dress billowing as the train rushes by. This image now stands as one of the most iconic images of Monroe.
The Seven Year Itch is a hilarious comedy, and will have you laughing from start to finish.
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The initial shooting of the skirt billowing scene caused outrage from Joe DiMaggio, Monroe’s husband at the time. He was extremely angry, and after a nasty argument between the two (which reportedly left Marilyn with bruises) Monroe filed for divorce which was finalised on October 31st 1955.
Billy Wilder had to re-shoot the subway scene at Twentieth Century Fox studios due to the sound of the onlooking crowd rendering the footage unusable.
A fifty-two foot cut out of Monroe in the subway scene graced the Loews State Theater in Times Square New York for the film’s promotion.
Tom Ewell also played Richard Sherman in the Broadway Production of the film.
When publishing executive Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) sends his wife Helen (Evelyn Keyes) and son Ricky (Butch Bernard) away from the hot summer in New York City his life takes a hilarious turn when he meets the young lady renting the apartment upstairs. The lady in question (Marilyn Monroe) whose name is never known to us, is a light-hearted individual who stars in television commercials.
Sherman feels an attraction towards the ‘Girl’, and the pair strike up a friendship, listening to music, drinking, and going to the movies. But Sherman is starting to worry about his conduct, and with an overactive imagination to boot, it’s not long before he starts to feel paranoid, especially since he has been reading a manuscript which mentions ‘a seven year itch’ a belief that men are tempted to stray from their wives during the seventh year of marriage. But Sherman doesn’t help matters by making a pass at her whilst they are playing chopsticks at the piano.
The Girl sees nothing more than a friend in Sherman, but he’s really starting to fall apart inside his mind, which just adds to the overall hilarity of the situation. Meanwhile, poor Ricky doesn’t have his paddle so he can go canoeing with his friends, and his wife Helen is constantly sending requests for Sherman to send it on.
Sherman is not only worried about what the plumber (Robert Strauss) thinks, he’s also worrying about what may be happening between his wife and Tom MacKenzie (Sonny Tufts), an acquaintance of theirs who has bumped into Helen whilst she has been away.
The Seven Year Itch is a real classic comedy, and one of Monroe’s finest films although I must admit I do prefer her later performances in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) and Some Like It Hot (1959), which in my humble opinion are two films which really displayed her talents as a comical actress.
The Seven Year Itch is a film I have seen so many times since I was a young girl (I owned it on VHS!), and is still funny even today.
Tom Ewell’s performance as Richard Sherman is thoroughly entertaining and amusing, the scenes where his over-active imagination and paranoia take over have got to be some of the best and funniest scenes in the film.
Photos courtesy of “DoctorMacro”