The Seven Year Itch (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Like thousands of other Manhattanites, Tom Ewell annually packs his wife (Evelyn Keyes) and children off to summer vacation, staying behind to work at the office. This particular summer, the lonely Ewell begins fantasizing about the many women he'd foresworn upon getting married (in one of the fantasies, Ewell and Marguerite Chapman parody the beach rendezvous in From Here to Eternity). He is jolted back to reality when he meets his new neighbor--luscious model Marilyn Monroe. Inviting Monroe to dinner, Ewell intends to sweep her off her feet and into the boudoir. Things don't quite work out that way, thanks to Ewell's clumsiness (and essential decency) and Monroe's naivete. Still, Ewell becomes convinced that his impure thoughts will somehow be transmitted to his vacationing wife and to the rest of the world, leaving him wide open for scandal and ruination. In the original play, the husband and the next-door neighbor did have an affair, but both play and film arrived at the same happy ending, with Ewell and his missus contentedly reunited at summer's end. Featured in the cast of The Seven Year Itch are Robert Strauss as a lascivious handyman, Sonny Tufts as Evelyn Keye's former beau, Donald MacBride as Ewell's glad-handing boss, and veteran Broadway funny man Victor Moore in a cameo as a nervous plumber. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

Tom Ewell
as Richard Sherman
Evelyn Keyes
as Helen Sherman
Sonny Tufts
as Tom McKenzie
Oscar Homolka
as Dr. Brubaker
Marguerite Chapman
as Miss Morris
Donald MacBride
as Mr. Brady
Carolyn Jones
as Miss Finch
Victor Moore
as Plumber
Roxanne
as Elaine
Doro Merande
as Waitress
Dorothy Ford
as Indian Girl
Ralph Sanford
as Railroad Station Gateman
Mary Young
as Train Lady
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Critic Reviews for The Seven Year Itch

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (6)

Despite the script's cleverness, the presence of Tom Ewell, who is a first rate comedian and Oscar Homolka, who has long been a first rate actor, the entire film continually misses fire and fizzles out, like defective fireworks.

Full Review… | January 23, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

What counts is that laughs come thick and fast, that the general entertainment is light and gay.

Full Review… | August 15, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

Although it was directed by Billy Wilder, this 1955 CinemaScope classic sometimes seems presided over by Frank Tashlin, with its satire of 50s puritanism and its use of wimpy Tom Ewell.

Full Review… | August 15, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Monroe flaunts her attributes too blatantly, and seems less human because of it, while George Axelrod's play, fresh and risqué in the '50s, now appears a little obvious and over-plotted.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

So arresting is Monroe's presence that when she's not on-screen, we wait impatiently, wondering, Where have you gone, Mrs. DiMaggio?

July 19, 2005
Village Voice
Top Critic

Miss Monroe clearly plays the title role.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Seven Year Itch

½

An insufferable comedy whose sense of humor is tremendously unfunny and obvious while Ewell is unbearable with his expository babbling and his character's stupid imagination - and it would have never become a classic if it were not for that one famous scene only.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

A man whose wife is away for the summer fantasizes about the girl who lives upstairs. Marilyn Monroe was obviously beautiful, glamorous, and altogether physically admirable, but she wasn't much of an actress. I find it difficult to believe that this character is so naive to fail to see Richard's attraction to her, so much so that she would jump atop the random subway vent. The character Monroe creates is perplexing because she has moments of profound insight at the end but an utter blindness throughout most of the rest of the of the film, and in the hands of a better actress, we might be able to discern a clear choice about the character's perceptions. Tom Ewell handles his many soliloquies well, but these speeches comprise far too much of the film. I would have thought that a director as good as Billy Wilder would have been able to show much of what was told in these parts of the film. Overall, this classic was disappointing, and I'm still looking to see what it is about Monroe that garners such universal acclaim.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

½

An explosive comedy for its day, Itch is a fun romp with the help of the most down to earth starlet of the day, Marilyn Monroe. Though she is the main attraction in this romantic tryst, it is Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman who truly carries most of the film with his rare comedy sensibilities. Monroe herself is a comedy giant, and in this film isn't always the sexpot or the vain yet charming girl of the down and out. The film is structured in a way that is unfamiliar to that time period, though it's not hard to understand the logic behind it, seeing as how it was written and directed by none other than Billy Wilder. The film is narrated throughout by a bodiless voice that describes much of what happen within Manhattan, as the film is not only a variant of romantic comedies, but also a commentary on the nuclear family. It's not meant to be taken with deliberate seriousness, and many parts are dated because of the way sex is viewed in society has evolved considerably. Still, it's really quite interesting and dare I say it, funny, to watch the devolving state of Richard Sherman, alone in Manhattan without the tether of his family, and all the allure of the voluptuous upstairs neighbor. I'm not going to sit here and deliberately unravel the social commentary of the film, or its importance as one of the first films to displace sex in film, but it really was scandalous for when it was made. During the film nudist colonies are mentioned, adultery is a prevalent theme throughout (and the basis for the film), and Monroe is displayed as a working girl, a Midwesterner who is just trying to make a living and live her life accordingly, but in the process is always attacked by men as she is a buxom blonde. If you love screwball comedies, or just comedy in general, you will love this, as well as any Marilyn fan. It really is a comedy gem.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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