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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Marilyn

I can't imagine anyone not familiar with this iconic image of one the most influential figures in popular culture of the 20th century. This is, of course, Marilyn Monroe with her dress being blown up over a NYC subway grate at the SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street in the film The Seven Year Itch. As she feels the cool air wafting upwards, she says "Isn't it delicious?" There was much controversy over this scene and the dialogue - some original material was cut. In the original footage, Marilyn's dress was blown up over her waist - this is the image which we are all familiar with and was used in print ads (or in sculptures like the one in the photo). For the film however, the the scene was reshot on a sound stage. The new footage was much tamer with her dress barely above her knees. The original footage (shot on location) was also deemed unusable due to the enormous background noise by the crowd during filming. The scene even precipitated an argument between Marilyn and her husband at the time, Joe DiMaggio (who was on the set during filming) which reportedly led to their separation and divorce. When I grew up, Marilyn Monroe was synonymous with the ultimate in beauty and sexiness. It was also a time where durability was a much larger component of quality and fame. Momentum could build, creating enormous larger than life icons like Elvis, Marilyn or the Beatles. Many feel we will never again see this type of thing again. Today, everything feels so temporal and transient - in fact in many ways this fleeting from here to the next best thing is something looked on positively. Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame is starting to look like a long successful career ...

Photo Note: The photo was taken outside SoHo Treasures at 123 Mercer Street.

6 comments:

Lucy said...

Nice photo. I too remember MM being the epitome of femininity, and she still is because so many current pop stars are basically rechanneling her image, Gwen Stephanie, Madonna, are two that I can think of offhand...

Pat said...

Great capture!

I wonder if you've got any photos of the flat iron building. I love that building at Broadway and 23rd (?)

Been a long time since I've been in NYC but I'll come back and see if you have one.

Pat



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claudine said...

Marilyn était connue dans le monde entier ! Je ne pense pas qu'elle ait été remplacée.

• Eliane • said...

Love this post! And I have not seen this iconic film yet. To Netflix!
I like how from a picture of a rather tacky sculpture you give us something really interesting.

Kate said...

Judging by today's standards, this actually is a very modest stance. Marilyn is wearing panties instead of thongs and her cleavage is also quite modest. I have always loved this moment in time and the statue lovingly reminds me of it. She really was everyone's darling sexpot. Thanks for the reminise.

oldmanlincoln said...

This statue and the rest of the group were in Dayton, Ohio this past summer and drew a lot of attention. Nice to see them on the move.