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April 17, 2024

Marilyn Monroe Blowing a Kiss at the Camera, 1954

Marilyn Monroe blowing a kiss for the camera upon arriving at Idlewild Airport to work on the film, The Seven Year Itch.

The Seven Year Itch, released in 1955, was an adaptation of a hit Broadway show of the same name and featured a memorable performance by Marilyn Monroe. Billy Wilder preferred shooting in black and white, but Marilyn Monroe’s contract with Fox called for all of her movies to be shot in color. Monroe always thought that she looked far more attractive and glamorous in color than in black and white.

Much of the film’s humor derives from the contrast between Richard’s extreme self-consciousness, manifested in extended soliloquies that reveal his overactive imagination, and his neighbor’s seeming obliviousness to her sensuous charms. Offscreen, Monroe’s personal problems—including her divorce from Joe DiMaggio—wreaked havoc on the production, and her distractions caused The Seven Year Itch to exceed its budget, though it was quite profitable in the long run. Censors forced a good deal of the suggestiveness to be removed from the script, and several scenes were trimmed to tone down sexual innuendos. Still, the movie is perhaps best remembered for the iconic image of Monroe standing above a subway vent with her dress billowing up from the air blast. The term seven-year itch—referring to the supposed urge to stray from one’s marriage after seven years—entered the popular lexicon as a result of the film’s success.


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