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  • Widescreen 2.55:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
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  • 2 Deleted scenes
  • 2 Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Digitally remastered
  • 1 Awards/Nominations

The Seven Year Itch

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . PG . PAL


Whilst living in the shadow of their acclaimed comedy smash Some Like It Hot, the first collaboration between Marilyn and celebrated comedy director Billy Wilder, The Seven Year Itch is yet another gem in Marilyn’s all too short career. Taking advantage of her signature, and by that time well established, on-screen persona, the curvaceous Ms Monroe provides the basis for 100 minutes of frustratingly well-crafted and cheekily provocative cinema.

It’s summertime in steamy New York City and the yearly exodus of wives and children to the country has begun in earnest. Left behind to provide for their families, husbands celebrate their sudden freedom as newly made (if temporary) bachelors, with continuous drinking, smoking and other more lustful debauchery.

But all that’s not for Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell). A paperback editor and devoted family man, Richard is determined not to fall back into his old ways now that his wife Helen (Evelyn Keyes) and space cadet of a son have boarded the train for Maine. Rather, he will immerse himself in his work; content in the knowledge that his loving family is enjoying themselves in the country. However, no sooner does poor Richard arrive home to his empty Manhattan apartment than he discovers a voluptuous toothpaste model and blonde-bombshell (Monroe) has moved into the apartment above. Immediately smitten, and yet initially able to master his resolve, Richard finds himself pulled inexorably into orbit around her. Will he be able to curb the repressed urges of the middle-aged male, or will he scratch his dreaded ‘Seven Year Itch’ ?

"Oh, I keep my undies in the icebox!"

Adapted by Wilder and George Axelrod from his long-running play of the same name, in truth The Seven Year Itch is only mildly effective as a comedy. Although Tom Ewell makes a good everyman, with large slabs of exposition delivered via extended monologue the script all too obviously displays its theatrical roots; and the results are hammy, less-than-subtle performances from the leads. And yet, the adorable Ms Monroe takes the film by the horns and makes it her own. Capering with glee, she commands and effortlessly holds your attention; her mesmerising ‘girl upstairs’ skating the ‘50s production code to produce one of the quintessential tease performances of all time.

In adapting the script, Wilder shamelessly shifted the focus from Richard to Monroe’s ‘girl upstairs’ to take full advantage of Marilyn’s sex-god image. In doing so the film essentially became a parody of her Hollywood image, and yet Marilyn rose above even this; providing a cheeky performance that is more Marilyn than Marilyn (so to speak). Be in no doubt, this babe sure can light up the screen. Oh, and that billowing white dress over the subway vent? Well, that’s just icing on the cake..


Originally filmed in Cinemascope at the ridiculously wide aspect ratio of 2.55:1, the enormous width afforded The Seven Year Itch combined with the restrictive apartment set adds to the theatrical feel of the production. A case in point is the many sequences during which Richard lets his vivid imagination get the better of him; Wilder providing us with an almost split-screen view of him side-by-side with his mind’s eye. But overall, this relatively new format (for the time) has been well utilised by Wilder and, despite the temptation to use all-encompassing long shots (thankfully there’s no orchestras or showgirls included here), an almost claustrophobic feel to Richard’s New York apartment is maintained throughout.

In terms of the restoration and digital transfer, Fox have done an amazing job. Colours are vibrant and skin tones realistic, and whilst we can see every hair on Marilyn’s coiffeured head, the beautifully sharp image actually shows up the relative lack of detail in the stagey ‘50s sets. While there’s no hint of MPEG artefacts and only one or two white specks to be seen throughout, the only blemish on the impressive image is several instances where the colours shift momentarily. Brief and only mildly distracting, and surrounded as they are by such a crystal clear presentation, these small problems are easily forgiven. Indeed given the comparison of this restored print with the previous video master, there’s no doubt that this digital presentation of The Seven Year Itch represents the film’s definitive version.


In terms of audio, The Seven Year Itch is certainly nothing to get excited about. There are no musical numbers, the score is subdued, and with the majority of the action taking place in Richard’s apartment, ambient noise is minimal. Restricted to the front soundstage, the audio presentation is crystal clear, with easily distinguishable dialogue supported by only a few simple foley effects. Whilst channel separation is reasonable – voices follow somewhat the characters on screen - there really is little for your expensive audio setup to do here. A reasonable accompaniment to the film, but little more.


Static, anamorphic menus provide access to a limited number of extras:

  • Theatrical Trailers: Two trailers are presented, in English and Spanish, and are no more interesting for the duplication. Not enjoying the same level of loving restoration, the anamorphic images are less than comparable to the feature itself.

  • Restoration Comparison: Presents comparative, split-screen segments contrasting the restored image and the previous video master, as well as the pre-restoration footage. This makes obvious the hard work that has gone into this DVD release.

  • Movietone News Sneak Preview: 30 seconds of footage showing Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio arriving at the film premiere.

  • Back Story – The Seven Year Itch: This television documentary provides insight into the development of the film and the difficulties experienced in bringing the provocative, adulterous play to the big screen.

  • Deleted Scenes: Two scenes are presented, the first being an extended version of Marilyn’s ‘bathtub’ scene (there’s no question why this risque extension never made the final cut), and an alternate version of the famous billowing dress scene.

  • Photo Gallery – One Sheets: Five original promotional posters for your enjoyment.


If I had to choose my favourite of all Marilyn’s films, well, The Seven Year Itch wouldn’t be it. But that’s a tough choice to make! Each of her performances offers a glimpse at yet another facet to her intriguing character, and despite more celebrated performances amongst more weighty co-stars, Marilyn’s performance here is no less endearing or memorable. Certainly The Seven Year Itch should be a part of every Marilyn fan and film buff’s collection, and makes a great addition to the first of Fox’s Diamond Collections.

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      And I quote...
    "While Wilder shamelessly takes advantage of Ms Monroes’s sex-goddess image, Marilyn rises above the self-parody to provide a performance that is more Marilyn than Marilyn."
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • TV:
          Panasonic TC-68P90A TAU (80cm)
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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