A comedic broadway play by George Axelrod adapted for the screen by director Billy Wilder
in 1955 starring Tom Ewell
and Marilyn Monroe
. This was Monroe’s 23rd film and this is the movie containing the famous skirt-blowing scene on the sidewalk
. Bit of info on that scene: It was shot at 52nd street and Lexington Avenue, in front of the Trans-Lux Theatre
in New York. They shot the scene at 2 a.m. to avoid traffic and crowds, but more than 4,000 people managed to show up anyway
The movie was quite popular (primarily due to Monroe’s sweet visage in the film), and it has its funny moments, but overall it’s not the best of the movie classics. I find Ewell’s character rather annoying- of course the idea of a married man not being able to resist certain temptations while his family is away over the summer is not a particularly thrilling thought.
The movie begins with a short narration, explaining a “summer ritual” that’s been a tradition going all the back to the Indians:
The island of Manhattan derives its name from its earliest inhabitants - the Manhattan Indians. They were a peaceful tribe, setting traps, fishing, hunting. And there was a custom among them. Every July when the heat and the humidity on the island became unbearable, they would send their wives and children away for the summer, up the river to the cooler highlands, or if they could afford it, to the seashore. The husbands of course, would remain behind on the steaming island to attend to business - setting traps, fishing, and hunting. Actually, our story has nothing whatsoever to do with Indians. It plays 500 years later. We only brought up the subject to show you that in all that time, nothing has changed. Manhattan husbands still send their wives and kids away for the summer and they still remain behind in the steaming city to attend to business, setting traps, fishing, and hunting. (As soon as the Indian squaws are out of view, the Indian chiefs follow an attractive Indian squaw walking by.) Now we want you to meet a typical Manhattan husband whose family is leaving for the summer...
Thus enters Richard Sherman (Ewell), who waves his family goodbye at the train station, promising not to smoke, drink, or fall into any other temptations while they are gone. Sherman tries to behave for a little while, but his bitterness towards his family grows, and when the summer tenant makes herself known (Monroe), his ability to resist naughtiness goes out the window. After Sherman has a series of absurd visions, he invites the mysterious girl over and they begin talking. She is very friendly, but not to the point of showing any romantic interest in Sherman- he, however, does not see that. They begin hanging out, and Sherman carries on conversations with himself and makes up bizarre scenarios for the rest of the movie. The ending I will not give away.