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Marilyn Monroe original Seven Year Itch Shooting Script

Original Printed Production Script for The Seven Year Itch (20th Century Fox), being Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Working Shooting Script, bearing some 561 penciled words in her hand, plus hundreds of minor autograph additions, deletions, corrections and encapsulations. 113 pages (missing page 25 and neatly ripped portions of the flyleaf and page 82), marked “FINAL”, August 10, 1954. Cover worn and tattered, interior pages well-thumbed and heavily annotated but otherwise surprisingly good. Of immense rarity and importance. In full morocco, gilt-embossed custom slipcase. The single most famous scene in motion pictures history is thirty-five seconds long. Although it took five hours to film and some fifteen hundred people gathered on a sweltering New York street to watch it being shot, it is very simple. A young woman in a white halter dress stands on a subway grating, enjoying the breeze that fans the skirt up around her waist. She speaks three lines; most of them are about the weather. That’s it. But as every film and cultural critic in the world will attest, those thirty-five seconds changed modern life forever. Sex, hitherto seedy and menacing, difficult and dangerous, repressed and unspoken – was now, thanks to Marilyn Monroe, free, guiltless and natural. By projecting, simultaneously, voluptuous womanhood and childish innocence, she made overt sexuality unthreatening and fun. And Monroe, the quintessential Dumb Blonde, knew exactly, but exactly, what she was doing as she did it, thirty-five seconds over and over, all night long. Here, in her heavily anotated shooting script, we see her genius – sharper, surer, more vital even, than on the screen. Nothing less than the sexual revolution began with these notes, as when for instance, she refers to the “subway grate” scene in the script: “Child w/a woman. Direct & fem[inine]. Open… This is everything there is in the world. Light & easy. Everything flies out of her. Newborn – the baby looking at the moon for the first time.” But if Marilyn Monroe made sex natural, that doesn’t mean making it came easily. Nothing is harder to create than nature; no emotion is more complicated and difficult to portray than simple joy; and being Marilyn Monroe – so natural, simple and joyous – was, for Marilyn Monroe, a painstaking, calculated and serious business. She who seemed so blithely unaware was, in fact, the most self-conscious of actresses. “I had no problems with Monroe,” Billy Wilder said about directing her in The Seven Year Itch: “It was Monroe who had problems with Monroe.” Here we see, sometimes line by line, how she thought about playing her scenes – even including a note to show herself thinking. Not a muscle moved, in fact, unpremeditated. “Let go of – drop – then let everything come from there – stomach”; “Look first indecisive – pause – hesitation – little smile”; “My body into his – sliding into him as if I want to sleep with him right then & there. Swing hips again”; “All together one thought.” Perhaps the most remarkable note, however, is the last. On the verso of the final page of the script, Monroe sums up how she will play the part of “THE GIRL” and in doing so, change both modern life and her own personal history. In a staccato tattoo, she writes: “Make only little effort… giving it away – yourself – not keeping anything in myself … What is the quality of the electricity… only thru him… there is nothing else any where … open to him, my destiny to him (help carry the burden)… play the girl open and free, and it shall help me, Marilyn to be free, direct, open, honest, frank, charming – fresh, a twinkle, only morality, nature, a moral child.” Among nature’s miracles, then, comes Marilyn Monroe: the foster care child and high school dropout who was, we see here, a Rousseauian moralist, a deliberate artist, and liberator. Some excerpts from her extensive notes: Front Cover: Phone numbers in the Beverly Hills and North Hollywood areas. Inside Front Cover: “Completely letting go, feeling free…” Fly Leaf: “Scene. Page 76 [famous subway grate scene]. Child w/a woman, direct & fem[inine] – Let go, then stretch in my body” Title Page: “Going to & spitting (doing like a man) – constantly pushing him away – How I’d be bumping him if I did / walking by him.” Page 13: [First appearance of Monroe’s character, “THE GIRL”) “Only feeling – No mouth.” By the description “The [electric fan] cord is trailing behind” she has written the word “explanation.” Pages 33 and 34: [Re-introducing herself to Tom Ewell character, RICHARD] She writes “gesture first” before the line, “The tomato…from upstairs”, and indicates that her explanation of how she almost killed him by means of a falling tomato plant should be played as a “throwaway.” “To be born in me for the first time and let it fly out – new idea just born – new idea – flying bird – she has no difficult destiny – she speaks out loud – out out – sparkling face… Don’t expect success with it every time even 1 out of ten…” Boxed is the thought “Electricity is dancing all of me is (in movements).” Page 35: [Asking for a gin and soda] “Shy smile.” Page 36: “Let go… Drop – then let everything come from there – stomach” Page 37: “Keep it down – sit back – conversational…” Page 39: [In response to being asked about posing for a “calendar type” photo] She has crossed out the line “I was nude” and written in its place “It was one of those artistic pix.” Page 46: The famous line “I mean I certainly wouldn’t be alone with some man in his apartment in the middle of the night drinking champagne if he wasn’t married” has been corrected by Monroe to read, “I mean I certainly wouldn’t be lying on the floor in some man’s apartment in the middle of the night if he wasn’t married!” Page 50: [Answering question if anyone was watching when THE GIRL posed for her famous nude photo] Monroe has written “Laugh” before answering the question. At the piano a few lines later, she noted “put down glass”, and sitting down on the bench, “push him.” Page 53: [Saying good night to RICHARD] Monroe has written “shake” by “I think you’re very nice!” Page 76, Opposite: [Re famous Subway Grate scene] “Hint them, not act fully for girl – change but electricity never stops, electricity never stops, never stops…” Page 76: [Beginning Subway Grate scene] “Electricity – then word… Cool theater – Hot – talk to my self – The whole world – to be or not to be – everything is important to her…” Monroe has written this additional line of dialogue: “Do you feel the breeze from the subway – isn’t it delicious?” Page 77: [Subway Grate scene continued] “This is everything there is in the world. Light & easy. Everything flies out of her. Newborn – the baby looking at the moon for the first time.” By the line “Isn’t it delicious” she has written the word “paradise.” Page 78: [After kissing RICHARD] Monroe has crossed out the dialogue, “Well?” and written, “What’s the verdict?” Page 79: [RICHARD invites THE GIRL to “stop by my place for a few minutes…just to cool off before you face that Turkish bath up there…] Beside her line of “Well…” Monroe has written, “Look first indecisive – pause – hesitation – little smile.” Page 81: [Complaining about electric fan] “Thinking out loud – talking to myself” Page 94: [Fantasy “blackmail”scene]. Monroe has boldly written at top, “Contempt – first as I would – then adding war tank crushing everything.” To RICHARD’s innocent statement that he is going to make breakfast – cinnamon toast – Monroe annotated her response. “HA! Cinnamon toast? You can do better than that, Itchy!” and indicated, “dangerous.” Further movements choreographed are “blow smoke in face – grunt… shake – danger” and, as she says that between living in Denver, Chicago, and Detroit, she did a stretch in Leavenworth, “maybe laughter.” beside the line “Aw now, Itchy. Didn’t you have a guest here last night? All night?” “drawl it out.” Other directions include “Looking at him only – cat & mouse” and “tough & fast.” Page 96: [Climax of “blackmail” scene, revealing that THE GIRL is married to the building’s plumber, MR. KRAHULIK] “My body into his [KRAHULIK’S] – sliding into him – sliding to him – as if I want to sleep with him right then & there… Swing hips again.” Page 97: [“Blackmail” scene continued]. To RICHARD’s statement that the bonds and stamp collection THE GIRL and KRAHULIK demand belong to his small son, Monroe has written next to her line “Let him go learn a trade!”, “all together one thought.” Page 98: [Wrapping up “Blackmail” scene] By the line “I guess that’s all, honey. I don’t think there’s anything else” Monroe has indicated “not taking enough things – disappointed – looking around.” When KRAHULIK remembers that RICHARD is a member of the Fruit of the Month Club, Monroe has written by her reply, “There’ll be pomegranates in September!”, “M[ae] W[est] – grunt – come up & see me sometime.” Page 103: [RICHARD discovering THE GIRL in his bathrobe, having taken a shower in his apartment] Monroe has written RICHARD’S line, “What are you doing?”, deleted her own line “What’s the matter?” and replaced it with “I need a cigarette. They’re right on the table.” Page 104: [THE GIRL tells RICHARD she’d shoot him if she discovered her husband with some blonde in the shower] Monroe interjected between “Bang! Bang! Bang” and “Right in the head,” the direction, “wait for him.” Page 113, verso, final page of script: “Make only little effort… giving it away – yourself – not keeping anything in myself … What is the quality of the electricity… only thru him… there is nothing else any where … open to him, my destiny to him (help carry the burden)… play the girl open and free, and it shall help me, Marilyn to be free, direct, open, honest, frank, charming – fresh, a twinkle, only morality, nature, a moral child.” Back Inside Cover: “First ‘Invisible M’ – does it… Learn words pg.76 [Subway grate scene], pg. 13, p. 72…. Christ…” Back Cover: The telephone and address of influential Hollywood gossip columnist and Monroe champion, Hedda Hopper. Montgomery Clift, considered by many the finest film actor ever, said in an interview shortly before his death that Marilyn Monroe was, hands down, the single best actor with whom he ever worked. “Marilyn was an incredible person to act with…. the most marvelous I ever worked with, and I have been working for 29 years,” he declared. “She went over the fringe. Playing a scene with her, it was like an escalator. You’d do something and she’d catch it and it would go like that, just right up.” But getting to the top, making the metamorphosis from Norma Jean to Marilyn; from Marilyn to superstar; from superstar to icon – it did not happen effortlessly, or accidentally, or luckily. She made it happen, all of it, line by line and scene by scene: this extraordinary script shows us how, and why. $60,000 – $80,000

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