The Seven Year Itch, Revisited

Screenshots by Classic Film on Flickr

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.”

Marilyn: The Pretty Funny Girl

In a blog post for the 25 Years Later site, J.C. Hotchkiss looks back at Marilyn’s comedic roles in Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot.

“The ‘dumb blonde’ has more depth than you would first think. As someone who has played this ingénue of a character, the ‘ditzy’ blonde needs to know herself. She needs to know the jokes but is NOT the joke. She needs to command the scene, but not be so childlike that the audience stops rooting for her and gets annoyed with her immaturity. Marilyn navigated this fine line throughout her career …

Marilyn fought for a long time to be taken seriously in the acting arena in which she desperately wanted to excel and to be a true actress, not just a pretty face.  I believe all these performance showcase that brilliance … To me, she was more than just a beauty. In fact, the internal struggles she was fighting throughout her life made these performances even that much more poignant …

Marilyn was a trendsetter without even trying to be. She just wanted to make people happy, sometimes at the detriment of her own well-being. At least we have her bright smile and contagious laughter on celluloid whenever we need to laugh and remember just how funny and beautiful she was; to remind us of who Marilyn Monroe was and the legacy she wanted us to remember. “

Wednesdays With Marilyn in Palm Springs

The Palm Springs Cultural Centre is hosting a summer season of Marilyn’s movies each Wednesday at 7 pm, with Niagara on July 10; followed by Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on July 17, How to Marry a Millionaire on July 24, and Some Like It Hot on July 31. On Wednesdays at 7 through August, catch The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, Let’s Make Love and Monkey Business. And finally, the retrospective winds up in September with Don’t Bother to Knock and The Misfits.

Thanks to Eric at Marilyn Remembered

‘The Seven Year Itch’ in Norfolk, VA

The Seven Year Itch will be screened at 7 pm on Monday, August 19 at the Naro Cinema in Norfolk, Virginia, capping off ‘Mal’s Movies’, a summer season of Hollywood classics selected by film and theatre critic Mal Vincent.

“The star, of course, is Marilyn, and that’s all that needs to be said. Based on the Broadway play, Billy Wilder’s classic comedy is devoted to the premise that husbands reportedly get an ‘itch’ after seven years of marriage. Such frenzy is encouraged by the fact that the wife is away for the summer, and Marilyn Monroe, playing a model, lives upstairs. It’s the perfect comedy for the summer. Tom Ewell is hilarious as the befuddled middle-aged husband who doesn’t quite know what to do with Marilyn. She is most avid about Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and cooling off her underwear in the fridge. Summertime galore! Monroe’s comic gift is proven throughout.”

After the show, viewers will vote for their top four performances of the series – and Marilyn will be competing against the likes of Doris Day, Maureen O’Hara, Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth for the Best Actress title!

Marilyn’s Classic Summer Rom-Com

The Seven Year Itch is a perfect summer movie, and over at Bustle, Angelica Florio ranks it fourth among 26 Classic Rom-Coms Streaming Now That Made The Genre What It Is Today.

“There are the classics from your childhood and then there are the classics that invented the rom-com tropes that are still in play today. This Marilyn Monroe movie isn’t necessarily a feminist love story — Monroe’s character is simply called The Girl throughout — but it definitely influenced the genre.”

Streaming on Hulu.

Stern’s Marilyn Auction in Gainesville

Images from Marilyn’s 1962 Vogue shoot from the estate of photographer Bert Stern will go under the hammer as part of the June Joyfuls sale at the Four Seasons Auction Gallery in Gainesville, Georgia this Sunday, June 23, as Chris Jenkins reports for Arts & Collections.

Also on offer is this photo of Marilyn attending the Cinemascope party at the Cocoanut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles on January 1st, 1953 (previously owned by a friend of Stern, but wrongly described as being taken in New York in 1957); and a vintage promotional item for The Seven Year Itch, included in a collection of books and memorabilia.