Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Seven Year Itch

Billy Wilder, 1955 (8.2*)
When the wife's away, will swinging cats play? That's basically the premise of this Billy Wilder screwball comedy, in which a temporarily stag husband, Tom Ewell in his best performance (a Golden Globe winner for best actor), whose wife and kids are away all summer on vacation, is tempted by the close proximity of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe, who becomes his platonic pal.

Ewell has a constant pained look on his face (and we guys know where that comes from), while Monroe plays the innocent virginal girl to the hilt. The most famous scene is when she stands above a subway air vent and lets the warm air blow up her dress and blast her 'nether regions', a scene often copied in later films.

There's not much to think about here, as Wilder has given us the cinematic equivalent of repressed sexual frustration, and lets our fantasies do all the work. Maybe not his best comedy, but like any Wilder film, not only worth seeing but a level above all the others of his generation. One of Monroe's best, as she works as a parody of herself, a woman who's almost too hot to touch while seemingly begging to be ravaged by someone.

Wilder is one of the great directors, here's a small list of his best films:
The Front Page, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Lost Weekend, The Spirit of St. Louis, One Two Three, Ace in the Hole, Sabrina, The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, Witness For the Prosecution, The Fortune Cookie.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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