Friday, June 16, 2017

Film Flick: The Seven Year Itch

It sometimes happens that a part of a movie- a great line, a costume,  a soundtrack- can outshine the overall product and become ingrained in our cultural conscience. Such is the case with a white, billowing skirt over subway vents. It helps of course that said dress is on Marilyn Monroe; the picture of her pushing down her skirt is instantaneously recognizable. But to only remember that does a disservice to the film that created such an iconic image.

The sweltering summer heat has people fleeing crowded New York City for cooler climates, if they can, or to air conditioning, at the very least. Richard Sherman (a role reprised from the play by Tom Ewell) sends his wife and kid off to the country, but stays to toil at his job. He derides those men who use similar situations as an excuse to go a bit wild. He promises to not smoke or drink.... but soon finds a bigger temptation when he meets his new upstairs neighbor. The Girl, played by Marilyn Monroe, is subletting an apartment for the summer, but, with no air conditioning, it is less than ideal. Sherman invites her into his air conditioned apartment and proceeds to daydream about seducing The Girl. His vivid imagination, which conjures up images of both delightful indulgences and scenarios involving a vengeful wife, are what makes for the base of this film. It is comedic gold, even if his daydreams never seem to become to reality....or do they?

So how did this story become the movie that, as its tagline boasts, tickled and tantalized? The Seven Year Itch began life as a Broadway play. When turning it from a play to a film, the playwright George Axelrod brought his playscript to his first meeting with Billy Wilder to use as a guide. Wilder famously replied, "Fine. We'll use it as a doorstop." And in reality, the film bears less of a resemblance to the play than director and co-writer Billy Wilder would have liked, due to movie censorship.

Wilder called the movie "a nothing picture because the picture should be done today without censorship . . . Unless the husband, left alone in New York while the wife and kid are away for the summer, has an affair with that girl there's nothing." However, I would argue that the story is funnier for that lack of consummation. The Girl (the Sherman character never learns the name of The Girl, but jokes that she "might be Marilyn Monroe") is so obviously is just interested in cooling off- not heating up. But the daydreams of a mild mannered, middle aged man allows him to imagine becoming a casanova. We get a peek at this ridiculous inner life- as ridiculous as all our inner lives are. Some might argue that the comedy is too stylized, too staged, but I liked it. Tom Ewell carries the show, but his bashful performance makes Sherman likeable even as he dreams of committing adultery. Contrasting against his more stylized performance, Monroe's breathy, natural way of speaking shines all the more.

So, where does the dress fit into all this? Less prominently than one might think! A full body shot of the dress billowing- the image that is so iconic today- is never even used in the film. We only see her legs; the full body shot came from stills used to promote the film. The scene is short, only a conversation as the duo exit an (air conditioned) movie theatre. However, it was to have big repercussions. Not only was it the image used to sell the movie, thus sending that dress on its way to pop culture fame, but it arguably broke up Monroe's marriage to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. Huge crowds came to watch the scene filmed; an unsubstantiated but fun myth includes the idea that Wilder set up stands for people to watch from. Interestingly, a very similar scene can be found in the 1901 short What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City, featuring actress Florence Georgie.

So, whether you are just seeking an escape from the summer heat or looking to heat things up with a sexy bit of comedy- The Seven Year Itch is one itch you just have to scratch!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Motherhood Musings: Getting Dressed

If you're reading this, it should come as no surprise that I love clothes (hey, it is a style blog, after all). But outfits and talk of clothes have been notably absent these past few months. For one very cute reason, of course! 
Okay. Not fair to blame that on the baby, especially when it is only half true. Having a baby means dealing with a changed body, a wardrobe that doesn't quite fit and new demands on the outfits you wear.

In all fairness, my body has returned to pre-pregnancy weight, thanks mostly to my diabetes, for both good (healthy eating) and not-so-good (hello, fluctuating insulin needs) reasons. But fitting back into the clothes I had had before wasn't as much of a relief as I thought it would be. What I needed my clothes for had changed.

I needed to be able to get down on the floor to play. I needed comfort. I needed everything to machine washable. I mean, I wanted all those things for my wardrobe before, but now its necessity.  There's a temptation to just roll out of bed and be in T-shirts and pajama pants all day, but that's not living. So here are some of the outfits I've been trying out as a mother. Documenting what both Ellis and I are wearing has been a reason for me to stretch my sartorial creativity just a bit more and wear clothes that make me feel like myself, while still meeting the needs of my new role as mama. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dog Eared Page: To Kill a Mockingbird

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square,shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.

- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Father's Day Gift Guide

1. Carnivore's Club Subscription | 2. Tacos Cookbook | 3. Doctor Syn (book and film) | 4. Pour Over Coffee Maker | 5. Pocket Tool | 6. Tintin Memory Game

1. Carnivore's Club Subscription - Both my husband and father are very into barbeque, and, well, meat in general. This fun subscription is a gift that keeps on giving. 

 2. Tacos Cookbook  Do you have food in your marriage where one loves it and the other doesn't? Tacos are that for us (Yes, I'm the weirdo who doesn't like tacos!). This and permission to go crazy and make tacos to his heart's content might be a fun surprise for my husband. 

 3. Doctor Syn (book and film) - One of my favorite memories as a kid was my dad sharing a favorite series from his own childhood: Disney's The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. So wouldn't it be fun to bring a new twist on an old favorite with not one but two different versions of the tale? The original book here is paired with a classic film of the same name. 

 4. Pour Over Coffee Maker- My husband loves to try new things and pour over coffee peaked his interest as there was a lot to learn. But he's held off, claiming we don't need it or that it would take up too much space. Maybe letting him indulge would be great! 

 5. Pocket Tool - What man doesn't love feeling like he's got the tool for the job. He'll always be prepared with this. And it takes up minimal room. 

6. Tintin Memory Game- Tintin is a perpetual favorite at our household, especially for my dad. It might be a few years off yet, but he could tackle his new Grandfatherly duties by playing a game of memory with his grandson if he had these. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

In June, Why Don't You...

Sign up for swimming lessons (with a little one in tow!)

Buy a new washer and dryer

Visit storytime at your local library

Donate to the ACLU

See Old Faithful erupt

Eat at a diner

Try a bath with rosemary and mint essential oils

Take your dogs to a dog park

Sample a new flavor of ice cream

Plant an herb garden
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