Revisiting ‘The Seven Year Itch’

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In ‘A Case for the Classics’, a movie column for Georgetown Voice, Amy Guay takes a look back at The Seven Year Itch from a 21st century perspective.

“The premise is simple — and startlingly sexist from a 21st century perspective: with their wives and children safely away to the country, working Manhattan men obliged to summer in the city can have a heyday smoking, drinking and ogling pretty young things….

As the object of Sherman’s infatuation, Marilyn justifies her title as a timeless bombshell. Her girlish, lilting voice, slow-mo swagger and alluring vulnerability elevate the film. With so much attention paid to her looks, it is easy to forget that Marilyn was a good actress; it’s hard to picture anyone else saying ‘I think you’re just elegant’ with the perfect balance of earnestness and sultriness as she does. She simultaneously exudes sweetness and seductiveness, naïveté and power. In other words, The Girl was the part Marilyn was born to play, and it is a treat to watch her slide effortlessly between contradictions.

While The Girl is certainly a major character, the story belongs to Ewell’s unsure, goofy Sherman whose rampant daydreams score almost as much screen time as does reality … Despite moments that probably set feminism back a good year or so, The Seven Year Itch  is still essential viewing for any comedy buff or Marilyn fan. You may even be tempted to linger by a subway grate on a hot summer day.”