The Seven Year Itch

Year: 1955
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Billy Wilder
Writer: George Alexrod/Billy Wilder
Cast: Tom Ewell, Marilyn Monroe
The latest and greatest of the breathless bimbo comedies from Marilyn Monroe and the one that marked her decline in Hollywood, director Billy Wilder considering firing her because of her increasing habit of coming to work late or not at all.

With his wife and son going away for a few weeks in summer, everyday schmoe Richard (Ewell) intends to batch it, hanging out with his own imagination, some cigarettes and booze and little else.

But bombshell Monroe (billed only as 'The Girl') moves in to the apartment upstairs temporarily and the two strike up something of a friendship, the winsome charms of the blonde becoming more tempting for the suddenly-alone and previously-faithful husband.

Wilder was a master of winding quite thick sexuality through the narrative despite the relative innocence of the time, not least because of the casting of the twentieth century's most famous blonde. He was also very big on the sort of screwball comedy big at the time, full of comic twists of fate and eye-rolling Leave It To Beaver-style homilies (such as Richard imagining his wife's reaction to him considering what a tiger he is to women).

Despite some G-rated laughs, there are long periods of little happening besides Richard (or Wilder, narratively speaking) just nattering away and the flow of the film was negatively affected as a result. It was also fairly stagey - you can tell quite easily it's adapted from a play

But there's only really one reason to watch it - to watch the woman who defined the term 'starlet' in action in the sort of role that concurrently made her name and destroyed the woman behind it, including one of the most famous scenes in film history, of Marilyn over the subway grate (ironically the shot didn't even contain her in full frame).

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