Marilyn’s Marquee Moment at the Historic Sidney Theatre

The Historic Sidney Theatre in Shelby County, Ohio has been open since 1921, and is now returning to first-run movies after almost twenty years, the Sidney Daily News reports. The photo above shows The Seven Year Itch on its distinctive art deco marquee in 1955.

One of Marilyn’s most enduringly popular movies, The Seven Year Itch was Twentieth Century Fox’s top box office draw that year, grossing $12 million – six times its budget. Here’s what the notoriously hard-to-please New York Times critic Bosley Crowther said in his review…

“The primal urge in the male animal – particularly one who has been married for seven years when he finds himself left alone for the whole summer in the hot city, with a voluptuous young lady in the apartment upstairs – is one of the principal topics of The Seven Year Itch … The other, equally assertive and much more tangible, is Marilyn Monroe.

As the aforesaid voluptuous young lady who comes into close proximity with the highly susceptible male animal, adroitly played by Tom Ewell, Miss Monroe brings a special personality and a certain physical something or other to the film that may not be exactly what the playwright ordered but which definitely conveys an idea.

From the moment she steps into the picture, in a garment that drapes her shapely form as though she had been skilfully poured into it, the famous screen star with the silver-blonde tresses and the ingenuously wide-eyed star emanates one suggestion. It is – well, why define it? Miss Monroe clearly plays the title role.”

“In a way, this is out of kilter. For George Axelrod, who wrote the stage play from which the picture is taken and collaborated with Director Billy Wilder on the script, obviously meant that the dominating interest should be the comical anxieties of the character played by Mr. Ewell … But the simple fact is that Mr. Wilder has permitted Miss Monroe, in her skin-fitting dresses and her frank gyrations, to overpower Mr. Ewell. She, without any real dimensions, is the focus of attention in the film.

This may be fortunate, however, as a factor of popularity, for there is a certain emptiness and eventual tedium to the anxieties of Mr. Ewell … Also here is a further factor: In the play, as we recall, the wishful thoughts of the fellow toward the lady were finally realised. In the picture there is no such fulfillment. The rules of the Production Code have compelled a careful evasion that makes his ardour just a little absurd.

Thus it is that the undisguised performance of Miss Monroe, while it may lack depth, gives the show a caloric content that will not lose her any faithful fans. We merely commend her diligence when we say it leaves much – very much – to be desired.”