The Seven Year Itch Review
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The image of Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grate in a fluttering white dress is easily one of Hollywood’s most iconic images. But unless you’ve seen The Seven Year Itch, you might be surprised to find that the iconic image comes from a film in which Monroe’s character doesn’t even have a name.

The Seven Year Itch may be widely known as a classic Marilyn Monroe movie, but it’s really the story of a middle-aged man who finds himself out of sorts after he’s left on his own for the summer.

When his wife and son leave Manhattan for a summer of fun at the beach, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) decides to be better than the other men who have stayed behind to work. He won’t smoke or drink. He’ll watch what he eats. And he won’t chase after women. But then he meets the gorgeous new girl (Monroe) who’s subletting the apartment upstairs, and all of his plans for a quiet summer go flying right out the window.

As his mind begins to run wild with thoughts about how he and his new neighbor could spend their summer, Richard begins to worry that he’s suffering from a malady known as The Seven Year Itch. But no matter how hard he tries to stop himself from succumbing to this horrible illness, he just can’t seem to control himself.

Much of The Seven Year Itch actually takes place in Richard’s mind. It’s a film that’s filled with narration and imagination and inner (and sometimes outer) monologue, as the poor, love struck husband tries to deal with his separation from his family and the temptation coming from upstairs. Throughout the movie, viewers often get a peek inside Richard’s imagination as he fantasizes about his adventures with his neighbor or as he debates with himself in rambling conversations that go on a little too long—and a little too in-depth—to feel natural.

Actually, the entire film feels more than just slightly awkward. The relationship between the two main characters is awkward and uncomfortable right from the start—or at least it is for Richard—and the beleaguered married man becomes increasingly nervous and jittery as the story plays out. Granted, that’s perfectly understandable, considering what he’s dealing with, but his anxiety and neuroses do make the film feel clumsy and even a little unsettling.

Still, Monroe is as lovable as ever as (who else?) the ditsy blonde bombshell who turns heads and breaks hearts wherever she goes. Though her character doesn’t even have a name, she has plenty of personality to make up for it—and her nameless role is easily the highlight of the film.

It isn’t the beloved actress’s best (I still prefer the madcap, gender-bending comedy of Some Like It Hot), but The Seven Year Itch is a memorable film nonetheless. If nothing else, see it for Marilyn—and to give some context to that iconic Hollywood image.

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