A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
There's little objectionable content in this romantic comedy directed by Billy Wilder. But the story of a middle-aged man tempted to cheat on his wife, and much of the humor that flows from this premise, will be lost on young kids and is unlikely to be interesting to tweens or teens, either. The only areas of concern are the adults shown smoking and drinking frequently; both behaviors are glamorized and seem appealing. Several short, sweet kisses are shown, and a few longer ones are played for laughs.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
With his wife and son out of town to escape the summer heat, typical businessman and faithful husband Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) looks forward to a little extra freedom while he's on his own. And when temptation, in the form of a beautiful upstairs neighbor (Marilyn Monroe) literally almost hits him on the head, Sherman struggles to remember why he's been so faithful for so long.
Is it any good?
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH is a cute, comedic romp but justifiably occupies a lower position in the canons of both Billy Wilder and Marilyn Monroe. Watching the movie, which was adapted from a Broadway play, feels very much like watching a play with its static camera and sets that rarely venture out of the apartment. Opening the movie is an ineffective -- and the movie itself even acknowledges this -- and racially insensitive attempt to tie life in modern-day Manhattan to that of the pre-colonial Native Americans that not even the tongue-in-cheek voiceover can salvage. The pace remains slow for the first third or so; exposition and setup consist of protagonist Richard Sherman (an effectively lackluster Everyman played by Tom Ewell) talking to himself as he goes about his first evening away from the wife and kid.
Fortunately, Marilyn Monroe (as The Girl) eventually makes her appearance, and things brighten considerably. Her screen magnetism and sex appeal are fully captured as she somehow exemplifies both ingénue and temptress. But as good as Monroe was at that, and she was very good, the performance is a bit flat. She doesn't seem truly engaged in the material, which isn't that strong, and seems to be phoning it in a bit -- there's no real spark behind those eyes here. Adults will find a few chuckles, and maybe even a guffaw, here and there, but if your kids are wondering what the big deal about Marilyn Monroe is, show them Some Like It Hot.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Marilyn Monroe's sex appeal in this movie. How does the movie show us she's attractive? Is it just her looks, or is anything else about her appealing or attractive?
This movie is adapted from a Broadway play. Do you think it was a good choice to turn it into a move? Why, or why not?
Marilyn Monroe is a Hollywood legend. What do you know about her life and death? What kind of lasting impact has she had on movies and on pop culture?
- In theaters: June 3, 1955
- On DVD or streaming: May 29, 2001
- Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes
- Director: Billy Wilder
- Studios: Charles K. Feldman Group, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Golden Globe
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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