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August 22, 2012

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D Cairns

Great post.

I seem to recall an Axelrod interview where he said the problem with 7YE was that the play was about a man who commits adultery and feels guilty about it and the film is about a man who doesn't commit adultery and feels guilty about it. So rather than merely missing the extra spice that a consummated affair would give it, the movie is actually centre-less, trivial, and about nothing. Given that, I think it's impressive how entertaining they managed to make it.

Tashlin, as you say, would have squeezed a lot more out of the pastiche element, which could have helped even more.

I like Tom Ewell. Richard Corliss said he has "a certain vegetable magnetism." I praised this sentence and a friend challenged me to say which vegetable he evoked. "Turnip," I replied, WITHOUT HESITATION.

Stephanie

"Stephanie wrote: "Often it can be enough just to have Monroe to gaze upon, but she really doesn't look that great here, even in that smashing white frock - partially the cinematography, but she's also heavy."

Wow, couldn't disagree more. Monroe in '55 is only "heavy" in comparison to the stick figures we're supposed to find sexy these days."

I quite agree about the stick figures. What I meant was that Monroe in TSYI is heavy by her own standards - you can see it especially in her upper arms and she's really spilling out of her dresses.

D Cairns

By her own standards? She looks much heavier in Some Like It Hot (she was pregnant at the time) and still looks great to me.

I think "spilling out of her dresses" is what she was paid for.

Stephanie

Her figure did change over the years and changing circumstances, as will happen and nothing wrong with that. In my opinion she doesn't appear at her best in TSYI and part of the reason is that she looks heavy. Your mileage may vary.

BLH

For what it's worth, I've seen The Seven-Year Itch a number of times and Marilyn has never appeared to me as anything other than ideally trim in it. Not even "heavy by her own standards," unless her own standards are the same as those of Karen Carpenter.

jbryant

I mean, granted, there's a subjective element here, but I was just refreshing my memory by Googling pics of MM in T7YI, and I don't see a heavy woman by any standards other than the warped ones I associate with certain folks today. It may be the best she ever looked, IMO. So yeah, my mileage varies.

I forgot to mention that I got to see the film projected in a fine CinemaScope print on the Fox lot several years ago, and that certainly enhanced my enjoyment of it.

Stephanie

BLH: Yes, BLH, you've sussed me out. Karen Carpenter was exactly the comparison I had in mind.

jbryant: Fair enough, although I'm obstinate enough to think it's not all that subjective as far as TSYI goes. I think she looks her best in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, where she's in perfect shape, and The Prince and the Showgirl (probably due to the combined efforts of Cardiff and Greene along with her personal glow). There are some shots of her in the latter that stop the breath even in poorly restored versions of the picture.

Chris Hodenfield

Not all of Wilder's films have aged gracefully. What might have once appeared to be lively acting now looks like mugging and the result is corniness. Hitchcock's plots might have been more unbelievable, but the more casual, understated acting lets his most of his films stand up today pretty well. Wilder just had an occasional taste for broad acting strokes. Emperor Waltz, almost everything after The Apartment in 1960. Sometimes I think he was saved by his films being in black & white.

Thus I try to imagine T7YI given the treatment he gave Ace in the Hole just four years earlier. Replace the leads with Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling. Harsh black & white contrast. Kirk on the edge of insanity, like he was in Detective Story. A hot, sweaty summer. Everyone at their boiling point. And Mr. Kruhulik would be played by, oh, Dan Duryea.

BTW, I've sat in the room with Wilder and Diamond together. Believe me, Diamond was the cynic, as hard as his name. Wilder played the cut-up and tried to amuse him. Pretty interesting combo.

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