Starring Tom Ewell, Marilyn Monroe, Evelyn Keyes, Sonny Tufts, Robert Strauss, Oscar Homolka, Victor Moore

AoM: Movies et al.: The Seven Year Itch (1955)

(5-Okay Film)

Toothless. Light. Shackled.

Dr. Brubaker: When something itches my dear sir, the natural tendency is to scratch.

The Seven Year Itch, as iconic as it is, or rather, as iconic as Marilyn Monroe is in it, doesn’t work. Based on a hit play, Tom Ewell reprises his stage role as Richard Sherman, a married man left alone for the summer to deal with the temptations of the girl upstairs. The Girl, as she’s called in the credits, though nameless, is said in the film to look a lot like Marilyn Monroe, and that’s because she’s played by the young star in one of her most memorable roles. She shimmies through Sherman’s apartment and the film in her bimbo with a heart of gold persona, all but stealing the entire show. Directed by the great Billy Wilder, I’d say this is his weakest effort made during his prime. The problem is that The Seven Year Itch was made during the 1950s, meaning, as I watch it, I know that the main character is not going to actually have an affair. He can’t. It wasn’t allowed back then. This takes all of the bite out of the satire and all of the sex out of this sex comedy. It’s not about being vulgar. A film like this needs to be free to go off in any direction and cross lines. As it stands, Wilder tries everything within decency, but being held back from going to some indecent places, The Seven Year Itch becomes just an hours long tease. Fortunately, he’d have the opportunity to handle affairs more interestingly with The Apartment and Avanti!

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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