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U.S., 1955
Directed by Billy Wilder
Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes
Screenplay by Billy Wilder and George Axelrod
Approx. 105 min. 35mm.

“When it's hot like this, you know what I do? I keep my undies in the icebox." With the dog days already melting the asphalt, Tom Ewell packs the wife and kid off to Maine, while he holds the fort in sweltering NYC to work at his publishing job, turning literary classics into vintagely lurid 25-cent paperbacks (What's Secrets of a Girls' Dormitory? Why, Little Women, of course). But when the summer widower's next project, "Repressed Urges in the Middle-Aged Male," coincides with the arrival of a new upstairs neighbor — TV toothpaste pitchwoman and "art" photo model Marilyn Monroe (!) — it's time to scratch that old "seven year itch." If Rachmaninoff doesn't do the trick ("That's classical music, isn't it?" she asks. "I can tell because there are no vocals"), at least there's the thrill of watching her cool off over a subway grate on a sultry summer night. And when klutzy would-be Casanova Ewell confesses "Nothing like this ever happened to me in all my life, Marilyn ingenuously replies, "That's funny. Happens to me all the time." But who wouldn't get mixed signals from a date who sympathizes with the Creature from the Black Lagoon because "he just craved affection?" Fiftieth anniversary of the Eisenhower era sex comedy, the apotheosis of Marilyn Monroe, and, in her white-dressed pose above the subway, not only her own most iconic moment, but one of the most enduring images in movie history. Screenplay by Wilder and, surprisingly enough, original playwright George Axelrod.


"As the innocent in the big city and the kook, Marilyn Monroe seems oddly cast at first glance. But in a way that was hers alone, she makes the girl warm, funny and sexy."
– David Shipman

Film Forum