Never-Before-Seen Footage Of That Iconic Marilyn Monroe Moment Has Been Uncovered

Photo: Bettmann/Getty
The image: Marilyn Monroe in a white halter-top dress standing over a subway grate. Her unruly skirt flies high above her waist; her hands can barely pin it down. We know the visuals thanks to the scene in her classic film The Seven Year Itch. It's as fresh in our minds as Kim Kardashian's latest IG snap and as famous as the "Mona Lisa." Yet the story behind it — how it came to be and who actually captured the real photo — was rarely known until now. Today, The New York Times published a story about one of the most notorious and unknown passersby on the planet. On a late September night in 1954, a furrier named Jules Schulback happened upon some information. He'd heard the blonde bombshell herself would be filming scenes for The Seven Year Itch on the Upper East Side. What luck! So he grabbed his 16-millimeter Bolex movie camera and went on his way. Schulback, along with a crowd made up of mostly men — eager to catch a glimpse of Monroe —was merely a tool of Billy Wilder, the film's director. The man wanted a crowd for the famous scene and unsurprisingly, that's what he got. Everyone within view of Wright’s Food shop near Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street saw the famous scene. Including Monroe's then-husband Joe DiMaggio. "He didn’t like what he saw, or what everyone else was seeing," Wilder noted in his biography, Nobody's Perfect. Schulback eventually got his dream footage with the camera he usually reserved for family time. However, the circus Wilder orchestrated on the street was ultimately in vain. The footage was never used. Instead, the scene was reshot in the shiny studio, away from the men catcalling Monroe to let her dress fly "higher!" Schulback's footage remained under lock and key. "The footage immediately disappeared. But one day I’m sure some film scholar will dig it up," Wilder also said in his biography. Check out the rest of the remarkable story, and watch the footage of the memorable moment here.

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