Monday, September 15, 2014

An Iconic Shot

Even if you weren't around at the time "The Seven–Year Itch" was made, even if you've never seen the movie, you've probably seen the above shot — or one like it — from the movie.

It is regarded as one of the most recognizable images from the 20th century.

The 60th anniversary of the release of "The Seven–Year Itch" is next year, but director Billy Wilder was filming the movie at this time in 1954. And, on this day, he was scheduled to film the famous scene in which Monroe is walking along a New York City sidewalk with Tom Ewell when a subway comes along, and the breeze it creates blows Monroe's dress up, revealing the lower half of her body.

Originally, the scene was shot late at night on location outside the Trans–Lux 52nd Street Theater in Manhattan, where a crowd had gathered to watch (including Monroe's then–husband, baseball player Joe DiMaggio); a second take was filmed later on a sound stage. The story I always heard was that the on–location crowd made too much noise, and the second take was needed to get the dialogue. But I have also heard that portions of both takes ended up in the movie.

The on–location publicity stills were photographed by Sam Shaw, who first met Monroe on the set of "Viva Zapata!" few years earlier.