Film historian James L. Neibaur, whose 25 books include a career retrospective for Marilyn’s idol Jean Harlow, has reviewed The Seven Year Itch on his website.
“The Seven Year Itch appears to be the film that defines Marilyn Monroe’s career. She is forever identified as the blonde airhead as she plays in this movie. People forget her range as an actress, including films like Don’t Bother To Knock, Bus Stop, and Niagara. That said, this Billy Wilder adaption of George Axelrod’s hit play is indeed the quintessential 50s-era adult comedy.
Now, in the 21st century, the narrative of The Seven Year Itch seems tame. But in 1955 it was edgy and titillating, although Billy Wilder would later state that he wished he had filmed it later on when censorship restrictions weren’t so strict. Today the film is significant for featuring the iconic Marilyn in one of her most notable performances, and as a brilliant representation of 1950s kitsch, with all of the fashions and furnishings that so clearly represent that decade. It also shows another side of the ways and mores of that decade, far different than the conservatism by which it remains defined, even in popular culture.
While it is not quite the classic it is cracked up to be, The Seven Year Itch is a pleasant comedy with some clever ideas and a great cast. Marilyn Monroe has become so incredibly iconic in popular culture, it is natural to for anyone to see the movie that best defines her screen persona.”