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The Seven Year Itch is a 1955 American film based on a three-act play by George Axelrod. The film was co-written and directed by Billy Wilder, and starred Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell, reprising his Broadway role. It contains one of the most iconic images of the 20th century -- Monroe standing on a subway grate as her dress is blown above her knees by a passing train.[1] The titular phrase, which refers to declining interest in a monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage, has been used by psychologists.
 
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The stage version premiered at the Fulton Theatre on November 20, 1952.[3]
Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman
Vanessa Brown as The Girl
Neva Patterson as Helen Sherman
Marilyn Clark as Miss Morris
Joan Donovan as Elaine
Robert Emhardt as Dr. Brubaker
Pat Fowler as The Voice of The Girl"s Conscience
George Ives as The Voice of Richard"s Conscience
George Keane as Tom Mackenzie
Johnny Klein as Ricky Sherman
Irene Moore as Marie What-Ever-Her-Name-Was

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Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) sends his wife Helen (Evelyn Keyes) and son Ricky (Butch Bernard) to Maine to escape the summer heat. When he returns home, he meets The Girl (Marilyn Monroe), a model who is renting the apartment upstairs while she is in town to make television spots for a toothpaste. That evening, while proofing a book by psychiatrist Dr. Brubaker (Oskar Homolka), claiming that a significant proportion of men have extra-marital affairs in the seventh year of marriage, he has an imaginary conversation with Helen, trying to "convince" her, in three fantasy sequences, that he is irresistible to women, but she laughs off his assertion. A tomato plant then crashes into his lounge chair; The Girl accidentally knocked it over, and apologizes. Richard invites her to come down for a drink.

As he waits for her to put on her underwear that she keeps cool in the refrigerator and gets dressed, Richard has a fantasy that The Girl is a femme fatale overcome by his playing of Rachmaninoff"s Second Piano Concerto. While playing Chopsticks (above), Richard, back in his fantasy, grabs The Girl in a bear hug, causing them to fall off the piano bench. She shrugs it off, but he is immediately contrite, and asks her to leave.

Over the next few days, they grow closer. His resolve to resist temptation in all of its many forms fuels his fear that he is succumbing to the "Seven Year Itch". He seeks out Dr. Brubaker for help, but to no avail. His imagination then kicks into overdrive: Helen and Ricky watch The Girl on TV as she warns the women of New York City about "this monster named Richard Sherman"; The Girl tells a plumber (Victor Moore) how Richard is "just like The Creature from the Black Lagoon"; the plumber repeats her story to the horrified patrons of the vegetarian restaurant Richard ate at; the Sherman"s hunky neighbor, Tom McKenzie (Sonny Tufts), arranges for he and Helen to be alone on a hayride; a wronged Helen returns home to exact her revenge. The fantasies turn Richard into a paranoid wreck.

After a crazed confrontation with McKenzie, whom Helen has asked to drop by to pick up Ricky"s canoe paddle, Richard comes to his senses. He tells The Girl she can stay at his apartment, then runs off to catch the next train to Maine.

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The Seven Year Itch was filmed between September 1 and November 4, 1954, and was the only Wilder film released by 20th Century Fox.

The characters of Elaine (Dolores Rosedale), Marie, and the inner-voices of Sherman and The Girl were dropped; the characters of the Plumber, Miss Finch (Carolyn Jones), the Waitress (Doro Merande), and Kruhulik the janitor (Robert Strauss) were added. Many lines and scenes from the play were cut or re-written because they were deemed indecent by the Hays office. Axelrod and Wilder complained that the film was being made under straitjacketed conditions. This led to a major plot change: in the play, Sherman and The Girl become intimate; in the movie, the romance is all in his head.

The footage of Monroe"s dress billowing over a subway grate was shot twice: The first take was shot at Manhattan"s Lexington Avenue at 52nd Street and the second on a sound stage. The sound stage footage is what made its way into the final film, as the original on-location footage"s sound had been rendered useless by the over excited crowd present during filming whistling over Monroe"s see-through panties.

Footage of Walter Matthau and Ewell"s screen tests for Sherman is featured in the DVD of the film. Nicolas Roeg"s film Insignificance features a character based on Monroe and a re-enactment of the subway/dress scene.

The exterior shooting location of Richard"s apartment was 164 East 61st Street in Manhattan

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Marilyn Monroe as The Girl
Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman
Evelyn Keyes as Helen Sherman
Sonny Tufts as Tom MacKenzie
Robert Strauss as Kruhulik
Oscar Homolka as Dr. Brubaker
Marguerite Chapman as Miss Morris
Donald MacBride as Mr. Brady
Victor Moore as the Plumber
Carolyn Jones as Miss Finch
Doro Merande as the Waitress in the vegetarian restaurant

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The original 1955 review in Variety was largely positive. Though Hollywood production codes prohibited writer/director Billy Wilder from filming a comedy where adultery takes place, the review expressed disappointment that Sherman remains chaste.

The film was listed at number 51 on the American Film Institute"s list of the top 100 American comedy films of the past 100 years. Ewell won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Wilder was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Year_Itch

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