Sixty years ago today, Marilyn Monroe stepped on a subway grate and made movie history. She was shooting a film called The Seven-Year Itch in New York City, and the image of her on the grate, the train passing underneath blowing up her skirt, would become one of the most iconic in all of cinema. To commemorate that magic movie moment, we’ve gathered behind-the-scenes tales of that and nine other classic movie scenes. (We didn’t include Raiders. Harrison Ford shot the guy with the sword instead of fighting him because he had the trots. We’re assuming you knew that one.)
The Subway Grate Scene, The Seven Year Itch
Director Billy Wilder originally shot the scene at one in the morning on September 15, 1954, on Lexington Avenue at 52nd Street. But he subsequently reshot it on the 20th Century Fox soundstage, mainly due to the giant (reportedly 5000-strong) crowd of onlookers ruining the location sound with their whistles and cheers. The version that appears in the film combines the two shoots — and, significantly, never shows Monroe in the full-body shot that would become the movie’s poster and famous still image. Monroe’s then-husband, Joe Dimaggio, was on the set that night in New York, and his anger and embarrassment over the shoot was reportedly the beginning of the end for their marriage.