The Seven Year Itch (1955 – DVD)

“What blonde in the kitchen? Wouldn’t you like to know! Maybe it’s Marilyn Monroe!”

I’m getting quite a taste for the films of Golden-Era Hollywood Director Billy Wilder after watching some of his early gothic Noir masterpieces. Now I fancy watching some of the light comedies that he’s also famous for. So I come on to 1955’s ‘The Seven Year Itch’, a sexy comedy starring Marilyn Monroe as a temptress known only in the script as ‘The Girl’. The title alludes to the period of time that supposedly elapses when a married man begins to look at other women. So when Richard Sherman’s (Tom Ewell) wife goes to Maine for the summer the neurotic Manhattan Advertising exec promises himself he will be faithful. That’s until he runs into his new neighbour upstairs, a younger jaw dropingly beautiful girl who is seemingly oblivious to the effect she has on men.

Of course this is the film with the iconic scene of Marilyn’s white dress getting blown up by air from a passing subway train rushing between her legs, a wildly suggestive idea. For 1955 this film is racy, naughty and even downright rude with scenes like the one featuring an obviously naked Monroe peeking out from the bushes and saying lines like “When it’s hot like this, you know what I do? I put my undies in the Ice Box!” to a flabbergasted Sherman.  Tom Ewell’s performance as Sherman seems to be channelling the pent-up energy and sexual frustrations of the archetypal Woody Allen leading character, only 15 years before Woody did it.  Throughout the movie poor Sherman has fevered dreams about the women in his life and by the end you are left wondering if ‘The Girl’ upstairs is entirely a figment of his overactive imagination.

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