Wild Young Minds: 'The Seven Year Itch': iconically, fresh and funny

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

'The Seven Year Itch': iconically, fresh and funny

Every single person alive must have seen the iconic Marilyn Monroe photo once in his/her life. Marilyn Monroe, in a white dress, standing on a subway grate, when a train passes and her dress is blown by the passing train. Recently, I've seen the movie in which this famous scene takes place: 'The Seven Year Itch', directed by Billy Wilder in 1954.

As a fervent Audrey Hepburn fan, the step to watch a Marilyn Monroe movie wasn't a small one. But after I'd seen 'Some like it Hot', I found out she really is a hilarious actress. Not in a bad way (she isn't good either) but very adorable. She always plays the sexy type with whom men have an affair. I can imagine that must've been hard for her, to always play a type like that. But back in those days, actors and actresses were more likely to play a specific type in every movie. Audrey Hepburn had the same problem. Though I'm not sure she'd mind, can't fill that in for her!

Anyway, 'The Seven Year Itch' is about Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell), who is a middle-aged publisher (a bit of a geek, for he always talks to himself) and stays home the entire summer for work, while his wife and son are having a vacation in Maine. Richard and his wife have been married for seven years and his wife tends to play his mother. One summer evening, he works on a book in which a psychiatrist talks about the problem many men have in the seventh year of marriage - they cheat more often. After this, Richard imagines having a conversation with his wife where he tries to tell her that he's very irresistible to women and she laughs it off.

While he's imagining this, a tomato plant falls from the window above him, and he meets a woman who he invites over for a drink. This woman is Marilyn, and she's exactly like she is in 'Some like it hot': beautiful, naive and a bit dumb. She is a model and actress, she plays in a commercial for tooth paste.

The next few days, they spend more time together and though Richard imagines himself doing all kinds of things, like trying to grab her whereupon she tells everyone and Richard's wife finds out. All these things don't really happen, which makes the movie very comical. In real life, nothing happens, Marilyn knows Richard is married, but she only finds this reassuring. But of course the power of attraction grows and grows...

The famous scene is not that special at all, it lasts for only a few minutes and it doesn't play any important part in the film. However, the dress is now an icon of the film industry and it became a real inspiration for many designers in the fifties and sixties.

'The Seven Year Itch' isn't a film of major quality (and the parts where Richard talks to himself, can be a bit annoying) but when you're sitting on the couch on a rainy sunday, you should definitely see it. It's iconically, fresh and funny. Just like Marilyn was. Or at least, appeared to be.

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