WELL — finished (I think — I hope) two of the three video essays I’ve been slaving over. The last one is the most complicated, but the end is in sight. Then I hope to be doing one for new company Radiance Films…

Currently too tired to plunge into BLONDE, which I’m very curious about, so instead we’re watching THE REAL DEAL, Marilyn in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH. Not my fovourite Wilder or even my favourite Wilder & Monroe (obviously) but I wouldn’t be able to do SOME LIKE IT HOT justice in my depleted condition.

Can’t get around the problem of Tom Ewell looking like Skelton Knaggs’ withered twin, and I’m morally certain Walter Matthau, who Wilder really wanted, and who merely looks like Ben Gazzara’s deflated uncle, would have been funnier… but Ewell, it must be admitted, gets some good laughs, particularly when he staggers off out of the FROM HERE TO ETERNITY pastiche on zombie legs.

The film where you see more of Ewell’s skin than Monroe’s.

The in-jokery — Wilder collaborated with ETERNITY director Fred Zinnemann back in Berlin — is rampant, with an audacious name-check for former George Axelrod collaborator Charlie Lederer early on. Possibly a sign that both Wilder and Axelrod felt the film needed every extra gag it could get, since the censor was taking much of the sex out of it. But what the movie loses in schmutz it gains in schmaltz, or sweetness, as it’s known outside of that cynical old town Hollywood.

4 Responses to “Itchykoo”

  1. Grant Skene Says:

    Personally, I enjoy Seven Year Itch more than Some Like it Hot. I think it is peak Marilyn and she is in colour. I enjoy SLIH, but I don’t get what all the fuss is about. It is frequently mentioned in greatest comedy of all time lists. It is amusing, yes, but it is not even Wilder’s funniest film (Ball of Fire script; SYI is at least as funny), or Marilyn’s (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, or maybe SYI), or Jack Lemmon’s (name most of the ones he did with Matthau), not sure about Tony Curtis’s.

  2. I think I get more pleasure from Some Like It Hot because of the structural tightness, which the jokes, with their incessant call-backs (“Type O”) contribute to. A funny situation played to the hilt, and definitely Tony Curtis’ best comedy – the rest are pretty grim.

  3. bensondonald Says:

    A missed opportunity: Walking back from the movie with Monroe on his arm, Ewell must know he’s the Alpha Male with his trophy. Would have been fun to show eye contact with envious and confused passerby. Maybe somebody assuming he’s her father, deflating his macho moment.

    The plot is chasing secret, consequence-free sex, which precludes bragging or showing off. But a lot of time goes into Ewell’s midlife crisis. His wife laughs at his tales of near-infidelity. The danger is not Monroe denouncing him on television but Ewell himself wanting to convince somebody — even his wife — he Scored.

  4. It seems a contradiction that Ewell wants his wife to believe him capable of cheating, but totally terrified of her finding out about “the girl.” But perhaps such compartmentalized contradictions are an inherent part of the doublethink involved in infidelity?

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