Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Seven Year Itch

20th Century Fox
Director: Billy Wilder
Length: 105 min.
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 21 January

I've never cared for ditzy blonde characters in comedies, but I make an exception for ones portrayed by Marilyn Monroe. She has perfect comedic timing and knows how to perfectly and subtly accentuate those little throwaway sight gags that make up some of the funniest bits of Wilder's The Seven Year Itch.

Clearly adapted from the stage, the film mines gold from the sexual hang-ups and exaggerated neurosis of summer bachelor Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell). The jokes come fast and funny, but the film starts to feel a little long by the end. Ewell is hilarious and perfect as the "Manhattan every-man," but when Monroe and Ewell are together, the film lights up so much that, as Melissa Anderson writes in her review for the Village Voice, "when she's not on-screen, we wait impatiently, wondering, Where have you gone, Mrs. DiMaggio?"

Of the three Monroe films I've seen (the other two being Some Like it Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - my favorite musical), this is clearly the lesser, but it's still a damn good film.


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