This entry is for Movie Movie Blog Blog’s second annual Sex! (and now that I have your attention) Blogathon. May I say this is a great idea- and that films back then were indeed sexier than junk that is made today (dare I say the “Stoop Scene” from the 1943 (1943!!!!) movie The More The Merrier is the sexiest scene I’ve ever seen on film- the actors are fully clothed, sitting on a front porch, and all action takes place above the neckline- take that- 21st century screenwriters- take that!!)
And now that I have your attention, I want you to time travel with me back to 1955- Yes good ol’ 1955. The middle of the nifty fifties- no internet, no WiFi, no Netflix- nothing like that. But 1955 did have one thing- nay- person- that we today don’t have- Miss Norma Jean Mortenson, aka Miss Marilyn Monroe. And in 1955 Monroe starred in one of her most iconic (and yes- one of her sexiest) films- The Seven Year Itch- directed by Billy Wilder.
The Seven Year Itch is the film that pushed the boundaries. It’s plot may be simple, but soon creates complications- Richard Sherman sends away his wife (Evelyn Keyes) and child for the summer, but soon faces temptation with his neighbor- The Girl. Today we might not think the film to be so racy, but- back in the day it was super risque (so much so it was banned in Ireland). To experience the movie like those did back during the initial release, I had to place myself in 1955- and convert my mindset. And trust me- it worked like a charm- all it took was some imagination and a little help from the Hayes office (well sort of!)
For those that own the Blu ray (like myself), maybe you’ll be familiar with the special feature of the Hayes Code pop up meter. It was very interesting and it helped me confirm what I thought the double innuendos to be. Its very funny when the meter pops up and you see the arrow go all the way to a ten (and it happened a lot!). Like the commentators said, the people in the Hayes office must have been very dumb not to recognize the “improper” material that was presented to them.
For instance, there’s the montage scene where Richard (Tom Ewell) has passionate kissing scenes with other women (and how he was able to stop affairs from happening) like in the hospital, or on the beach, even at work- but because they were all “made up”- as in taking place in his mind- the scenes got past censors. Yet, the scenes are sexy when you as the viewer view them- a perfect example of getting past the code.
And let’s talk about the famous scene – (for those who are unfamiliar this is the film that contains the famous Marilyn scene parodied by many) – which earns a 7 on the Hayes innuendo meter. It’s peculiar it does earn a seven- and its not higher because we only ever see Marilyn’s lower legs. Posters and media images may have shown all the way up the leg, but never in the film do we see that.
Its also funny to mention Ewell was selected not only because he originated the role on Broadway, but also because he’s not “overly” handsome. By him having average Joe looks, and his character being seduced by Marilyn, it was the perfect combination for creating for every man’s ultimate fantasy.
I personally believe The Seven Year Itch will forever remain iconic and sexy. It may seem dated, but isn’t that that half the fun? With Marilyn, Wilder and the ultimate temptation- you can’t go wrong!