Pop Culture

Keep Cool … the Marilyn Way!

It’s too darn hot out there, so why not straddle a subway grating and let the fabric fly!

That’s precisely what Marilyn Monroe did in the silly 1954 classic The Seven Year Itch, cooing with seduction over wary Tom Ewell. The exact location she performed her iconic flirtation, shot on September 15, 1954, and filmed a little after 1 in the morning, was on the grating at 52nd Street and Lexington. We recommend going down and trying it yourself, although expect to get stares from the coffee shop nearby.


One place you won’t find that famous grating in is the actual movie. Crowds of wily men and adoring Marilyn fans (1,500-2,000 of them, to be precise) were so crazed that the footage could not be used for the actual film. (The version in the movie was filmed on a soundstage). However the arguably more-famous publicity stills by photographer Joe Coudert, later used in the movie poster, were taken from the shoot.

The film made its New York premiere on June 1, 1955, at the Loews State Theater at 1540 Broadway in Times Square.  That also happened to be Marilyn’s 29th birthday.  A 52 foot version of Marilyn’s pose was hoisted above the movie theater, and images of it may be the most recognizable film advertising in history.

Graham Smith wrote a very enjoyable but rather exhaustive analysis of that scene, putting it all in deep philosophical and Freudian terms. Definitely worth a read.


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