From Sheila O’Malley, a depressing picture of Marilyn Monroe — or rather, of her position in the world:
Many of these movies were interested in demeaning or humiliating her, punishing her for the fact that she elicited desirous feelings in men. The Seven Year Itch, while mostly famous today for the skirt-blowing-up scene, is a nasty piece of work which puts Monroe in the unenviable position of being portrayed as a circus freak of sex appeal. Tom Ewell plays her ogling downstairs neighbor, and the way he views her shows the attempt to turn her sexiness into something dirty and lewd. She is so “hot” that she has to keep her underwear in the freezer.
O’Malley, though, has her usual admiration for actors who bury their problems under fanatically workaholic commitment to getting the job done:
It is commonly known that Monroe was victimized and abandoned as a child, leaving her with an abyss of need inside of her, but she took that victimization and turned it into a weapon and a strength. As an actress, she did not hide her need for love; instead she willingly let it flood out of her eyes into the camera and into the eyes of her co-stars in a way that is still startling to witness today