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Today in History: That Iconic Dress

The iconic image of Marilyn Monroe was shot by photographer Sam Shaw during the filming of "The Seven Year Itch." (Photo © Sam Shaw Inc. licensed by Shaw Family Archives)

Today, 62 years ago, Marilyn Monroe, shot her iconic history making scene in The Seven Year Itch.

Today in History: That Iconic Dress

Sixty-two years ago today, Marilyn Monroedelighted onlookers when she filmed that iconic scene.

The year was 1954, and director Billy Wilder, had cast Marilyn as the effervescent siren in his film The Seven Year Itch.

Set in the midst of a summer heat wave in New York, Monroe’s character moves into the apartment above Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell), whose wife and son have travelled to Maine to escape the heat.

After quickly becoming infatuated with ‘The Girl’ upstairs, Richard’s character is forced to assess his own moral compass, when thoughts of infidelity cross his mind.

The scene, filmed on Lexington Avenue between 52nd and 35rd Street in New York City, saw Marilyn and co-star Tom, exit a movie theatre where a breeze from the subway passing below provides a more-than-welcome relief from the dead heat of summer.

Instead of rushing to cover her legs, like any woman of era would have done, Marilyn embraces the breeze, uttering those famous lines, “Isn’t it delicious?”.

The original take was inspired by a shoot photographer Sam Shaw has previously done for Friday magazine in the 1940’s.

His granddaughter shared the story behind the image with bio.

“Over a decade later, when Sam read the script for The Seven Year Itch, he saw a chance to revisit this “skirt-blowing” idea and turned it into one of the most memorable images ever created.

“Most people also don’t know there were two separate shoots. One was a publicity event in New York where a large crowd of bystanders and the press were invited to create hype. The noise of the crowd rendered the film footage unusable and Billy Wilder reshot the scene on a closed soundstage in Los Angeles. Only my grandfather, the set photographer, was allowed into the studio.”

The iconic scene would go on to be one of the most memorable of all time, with Marilyn’s star-status flung infinitely higher due to this role.



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