Part 2 - Marilyn Monroe's Dress from Seven Year Itch
Read time 4-5 mins
Legendary Cinema Memorabilia Auction
The next auction to enter our list features some of the most revered items and memorabilia in cinematic history. These items were acquired by Debbie Reynolds who amassed a collection so large that it represented decades of Hollywood.
Reynolds won most of these items in 1970 when MGM Studios auctioned off a vast amount of their costumes and props. This opened a new market for film enthusiasts and scholars to get their hands on the items they saw on-screen.
Museum of Cinematic History
Reynolds had an idea in mind. She wanted to create a museum to capture the essence of the film and how it has transformed over time. However, it did not become real and the financial burden of taking care of those items took its toll and resulted in them being auctioned in 2011.
Trivia - Debbie Reynold collected an array of cinema memorabilia to the tune of 3,500 items over 40 years.
The $50m Auction
400 items from her collection went up for auction. Their estimated value was more than $50m. It was thought that Reynolds took $22.5m. One of the highlights of this auction was the dress which Marilyn Monroe wore in the Seven Year Itch.
Iconic Actress, Iconic Movie
Marilyn Monroe had many moments on-screen which defined her career. The Seven Year Itch was certainly one of them. Released in 1955, it tells the story of a husband's summer in New York (played by Tom Ewell) and the anxiety about his family being away over the summer due to the unbearable heat.
The story centres on the husband (Ewell) befriending a new neighbour (Monroe) and trying to justify how it’s okay for a husband to be around another woman during the summer and the ethical implications surrounding it as his family was away. After several introspections, he convinces himself that he is suffering from the Seven-Year-Itch! A psychological condition whereby, during the seventh year of a marriage, a husband will have a tendency to become unfaithful which he refuses to believe.
However, everything changes when Marilyn Monroe is standing above an air vent of a subway line which, as it passes by, sends an upward gust of air that catches Monroe by surprise as she frantically tries to keep her dress down to a completely mesmerised Tom Ewell. It was at this moment cinema magic was created and became one of most iconic moments of her career.Marilyn Monroe’s dress had reached a massive $4.6m which exceeded a lot of expectations – including Reynolds. Other items up for auction were the bowler hat worn by Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor’s headdress which she wore in Cleopatra and the guitar played by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.
Although Reynold’s dream of having a museum never came to fruition, she has shared her love of the cinematic world through the auction.