A married man, left alone during a hot summer, fantasizes madly about the impossibly gorgeous woman living in the upstairs apartment. When the woman is Marilyn Monroe, such fantasies are the stuff of epics, and The Seven Year Itch is a memorable laugh machine. Tom Ewell, repeating his role from George Axelrod’s Broadway hit, plays the itchy protagonist, whose vivid imagination gets the better of him. When Monroe finally comes downstairs and becomes friends (confiding, among other things, that she keeps her undies in the icebox in this hot weather), imagination meets reality in a merciless attack on the male libido. Ewell’s crack timing is matched by Monroe’s zesty comic flair, and the scene in which her white dress is blown skyward by a passing subway train has entered the encyclopedia of great movie images. Director Billy Wilder adapted the play with Axelrod; if the film is not one of Wilder’s signature works (Some Like It Hot and The Apartment would soon follow), it is nevertheless a smoothly crafted comedy.
1955, Colour, 104 minutes