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The Seven Year Itch
review by Zach B. and Anthony D.
Running Time: 110 minutes
Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evely Keyes, Sonny
Tufts, Robert Strauss, Oscar Homolka, Marguerite Chapman,
Screenplay by Billy Wilder and George Axelrod
Based upon the play by George Axelrod
Directed by Billy Wilder
Retail Price: $24.98
Features: Restoration Comaprison, Movietone Newsreel:
"The Seven Year Itch" has "Sneak" Preview, AMC Backstory
Episode, Two Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailers
Specs: 2.55:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
3.0, English Dolby Surround, French Mono, English Closed
Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter
Search (22 Chapters)
Billy Wilder breaks the sexual codes of the 50's with his
charming Cinemascope filming of the hit Broadway play, "The
Seven Year Itch." Flaunting convention, and stacking the
deck with the casting of Marilyn Monroe along side of the
star of the stage play, Tom Ewell, this film is brimming,
possibly overflowing with sexual heat and innuendo. "The
Seven Year Itch" is a perennial classic comedy (voted #51 by
the American Film Institute) and quintessential Wilder, as
well as creating the iconoclastic Marilyn Monroe future
generations would idolize. Yep, this is the film with
Marilyn's white skirt billowing about her waist that would
reach new heights of worship in Ken Russell's "Tommy," where
the congregation of Eric Clapton's church worship, with
Marilyn masks, a ten foot statue of Marilyn's infamous pose.
In the sweltering summer, Manhattanite Richard Sherman
(Ewell), ships his wife, Helen (Evelyn "Gone with the Wind"
Keyes) and young son off to camp in Maine. When he returns
to his three-apartment brownstone, Richard dreams of
scratching his seven year itch, and ailment that occurs
happens to men following that dreaded sixth year of
marriage. His daydreams nearly become the stuff of reality
when one of the apartments above him is sublet to a
beautiful, and busty, actress. Richard's imagination
manifests itself through long, comedic monologues and
dialogue-ridden fantasy scenes: he conjures up a knitting
Helen reprimanding him, a flesh-and-blood secretary trying
out her seductive skills as well as a night nurse with
strange notions for tucking patients in (an excellent cameo
appearance by the future Morticia Addams, Carolyn Jones).
These flights of fancy take up nearly one third of the film
before a potted tomato plant falls from above, bringing "the
girl" and Richard into close proximity. "Chopsticks,"
champagne, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon,"
kissing-sweet toothpaste, air conditioning, subway grates,
Rachmaninoff concertos, nudism, errant roller skates, the
'Good Neighbor' policy and good old-fashioned marital guilt
provide launching grounds for bountiful laughs. Every man
may dream of Marilyn, but, the question that "The Seven Year
Itch" poses is, "Will Richard Sherman let Marilyn's "The
Girl" scratch HIS seven year itch?"
Tom Ewell is the epitome of urban, edgy angst and is
matched moment by moment and line by line by the
hysterically funny Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn's line readings
are first-rate - - "I'm the tomato from upstairs" - - deftly
treading the line between dumb-blond caricature and
brilliant blond characterization, with the latter winning
out every time. George Axelrod's script, as adapted by
Axelrod and Wilder, is never condescending or smarmy, but
always bright, witty and loaded with enough lines to make
the Legion of Decency blush, not to mention tread the tight
rules of the antiquated rules of the staunch Hayes office. A
wonderful film experience all the way around.
Presented in 2.55:1 anamorphic widescreen, "The Seven
Year Itch" looks visually stunning. This is a great
restoration for a great movie fans should be pleased with.
Colors at times are a little washed out but overally nicely
restored and saturated. Sometimes things have a
"digitalized" look, and there is some great detail.
Sometimes there is a slight, hazy and faded look but nothing
too major. Some little bits of grains and other pieces of
dirts appear, but it's nothing too major and doesn't take
away from the overal presentation.
The English 3.0 is pretty decent. Nothing groundbreaking
but it gets the job done nicely. This remix is basically
mono. There are surrounds that are noticeable and shake
things up a bit, and I was really surprised that this wasn't
bland at all. There's a nice subtleness to the sounds that
really do get the job done. Impressive what was done here.
An English Dolby Surround track is included (though the box
says it is English stereo), as well as a French mono track.
English closed captions, English subtitles and Spanish
subtitles are included.
"The Seven Year Itch" is pretty packed with some great
features. The Restoration Comaprison (a feature not
listed on the packaging) is introduced with some text about
the preservation department. It's quite interesting how well
things were cleaned up from the video master to the original
film restoration. The restoration includes much more detail
and much more sharpness. If you're curious at all about this
process, this deserves a watch.
Movietone News: The Seven Year Itch Has "Sneak"
Preview is classic Movietone news. It's short but good
while it lasts.
AMC Backstory: The Seven Year Itch is a nice
featurette I am assuming aired on the AMC cable channel. It
has a glitzy opening and features clips from the film in
addition to interviews, old clips and narration on how the
film broke new ground. Hugh Henfer, George Axelrod and Billy
Wilder are in interviews among others. If you loved the
film, this is a great watch and well made piece.
Two Deleted Scenes ("Bathtub" and "Subway") are
included in non anamorphic widescreen. These are interesting
scenes and I'm glad they were included on the disc.
There's a Theatrical Trailer and a Spanish
Thearical Trailer (in 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 it seems), as
well as trailers for the other Monroe films in the
Diamond Collection section (plus a full frame trailer
for the actual set). Finally, the One Sheets section
has stills of posters.
A great film with some great features, Marilyn Monroe's
most famous screen role deserves a spot in everyone's
collection. With a nice presentation to boot, everyone
should enjoy this DVD.
(4.5/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)