It's possible that the legendary scene in which Marilyn Monroe's dress is blown skyward while she stands on a subway grating now dwarfs Billy Wilder's adaptation of George Axelrod's hit stage comedy in the same way that the 50-foot billboard of the scene bestrode Times Square in 1955. It stars Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman, a middle-aged book publisher who remains in Manhattan while his wife and son go off to the country on vacation. Once alone, he's consumed with sexual fantasies about various women from his past as well as the eye-popping model/actress (Marilyn Monroe), who's just moved into the apartment above. Hoping for some action, he invites his neighbor to dinner, but the combination of his amusingly nervous bumbling and her belief in the innocence of his intentions guarantees that nothing happens. Despite his guiltlessness, he begins to imagine that his fantasies are being broadcast nationwide, with his wife part of an eager audience. In his parody of film romance, Wilder hilariously skewers several, including FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and his particular bête noire BRIEF ENCOUNTER, even having the hapless businessman fantasize about the latter's theme as an aphrodisiac. Although censors excised the play's raison d'être of adultery, Ewell brilliantly manages the tricky feat of making a man seem risibly guilty despite having done nothing, and Monroe as the iconic 'girl' deftly parodies her screen image.
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