“The Seven Year Itch,” directed by Billy Wilder, is a romantic comedy that delves into the psyche of a middle-aged, married man named Richard Sherman (played by Tom Ewell), who sends his family away for the summer and is left to his own devices in Manhattan. His fidelity is tested when a charismatic and attractive young woman (Marilyn Monroe), referred to as “The Girl,” moves into the apartment upstairs.


Iconic Scenes

  • The Opening Sequence: Sets the tone for Richard’s struggle with temptation, showcasing the quintessential New York City summer.
  • Rachmaninoff Fantasy Scene: Richard’s vivid daydreams about The Girl to the tune of Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” are comedic yet revealing of his inner turmoil.
  • The Subway Grate Scene: The film’s most iconic moment occurs when Marilyn Monroe’s character stands over a subway grate, and her white dress is playfully blown upwards by the passing train below. This image has become one of the most celebrated and enduring visuals in film history.
  • The Champagne Scene: In a sequence where Richard and The Girl share a bottle of champagne, the chemistry and the comedic dialogue exemplify the film’s flirtatious spirit.


Marilyn Monroe’s Impact on Society

  • Symbol of the Era: Monroe became an emblem of the 1950s sexuality and glamour. “The Seven Year Itch” cemented her status as a sex symbol, but also showcased her comedic talent.
  • Fashion Influence: The white halter-neck dress designed by William Travilla became an iconic piece of fashion history, influencing women’s fashion and desires worldwide.
  • Changing Sexual Norms: The film played a role in the conversation about marital fidelity and the changing attitudes towards sexuality in conservative post-war America.
  • Feminine Identity: Monroe’s character, while seemingly naive, displayed a level of assertiveness and control that contrasted with the era’s typical portrayal of women, subtly influencing the feminist discourse.
  • Pop Culture Iconography: The subway grate scene has been referenced, parodied, and celebrated in countless forms of media, cementing Monroe’s legacy in the collective consciousness.


In conclusion, “The Seven Year Itch” remains a cultural touchstone primarily due to Marilyn Monroe’s magnetic performance and the film’s light-hearted exploration of temptation. Monroe’s impact on society went beyond her film roles; she challenged and changed societal norms regarding femininity, sexuality, and celebrity culture, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to resonate in today’s society.



Q1: What does the title “The Seven Year Itch” refer to? A1: The title refers to a psychological term that suggests a decline in marital satisfaction around the seventh year of marriage.

Q2: Was “The Seven Year Itch” considered controversial for its time? A2: Yes, the film’s themes of adultery and sexuality were controversial, leading to toned-down adaptations from the original play for the movie version due to the Motion Picture Production Code.

Q3: How did Marilyn Monroe’s role in the film affect her career? A3: Her role solidified her status as a major Hollywood star and a sex symbol, broadening her appeal as an actress known for both dramatic and comedic roles.