Title: The Seven Year Itch
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Billy Wilder
Writers: Billy Wilder, George Axelrod
based on the original play of Axelrod
Music: Alfred Newman
Cinematography: Milton R. Krasner
How come such a thoroughly paper-thin story could attain the monumental success as not only a classic comedy but also Marilyn Monroe’s career apex?
The prestigious Billy Wilder did conquer many obstacles in order to stimulate the placid mundane life with some enjoyable ripples, such as the daring boldness to persist the employment of the obscure Tom Ewell from the original play instead of some Hollywood red-hot marquees, Gary Cooper for example.
Marilyn Monroe’s embodiment as a naively appealing neighbor is beyond any heterosexual man’s pipe dream, the too good to be true empathy sustains as a main motif all along the way. Piercingly ludicrous as the opponent of the average-joe Tom, the whole film could be interpreted as a placebo to the ordinary mass who are more than willing to watch their fantasies come true on the celluloid.
Adapted from a play with the same title, theatrically speaking Tom Ewell is virtually the ace in the hole in both his monodrama and the two-hander with Monroe. His initial physical contour did arouse me with some doubt about his capacity being the male protagonist, thankfully his full-fledged devotedness and the magic chemistry between him and Monroe have rescued the film from being one of the insignificant cheesy chick-flicks. And for Ms. Monroe, it is no big deal of her acting skill, her natural temperament, arresting sexual attraction plus violet voice is a treasure itself, and thanks to Billy Wilder, which has been exploited at its most!
Being a film based upon a comedic play, the low cost of the setting (90% of the screen-time takes place within Tom’s flat) inescapably could bring about a tad weariness, that’s why the one prominent exception, which now is notoriously well-known when Monroe standing on the air vent of the sewer system, is so invaluable.