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Picturegoer: February 19th 1955
Her Bath Scene Got The Cold Shoulder
Remember the fuss when Monroe took to the water? But in Britain a bath scene is almost a wash-out, says ERNIE PLAYER
When Marilyn Monroe took an on-set bath in Hollywood for The Seven Year Itch, the studio was inundated with requests for visitors' passes. But the four hundred applicants were told: "Sorry, no visitors."
For the actual shooting, an unusual number of electricians volunteered for overhead gantry duty, normally shunned as an uncomfortable job because of the heat from the arc lamps.
And special arrangements were made for warm water to trickle into the bath so that Monroe was kept at an even temperature.
Peter Day told us about this headline-making scene in PICTUREGOER of January 1.
But what happens when a British studio decides to film a bath scene? Practicaly nothing. From a sensation-stirring point of view, the dip that Ludmilla Tcherina took for a sequence in Oh, Rosalinda! at Associated British Studios, Elstree was a wash out.
In fact it was as good as cold-shouldered by the corps of people who normally make a habit of set-visiting. No more requests for passes than usual were received by the studio chiefs.
There was no volunteering by technicians for jobs usually regarded as irksome. No special screens were put up around the set. No fuss. No bother.
Promptly at 9 a.m. Ludmilla Tcherina, wearing a flesh-coloured swimsuit, stepped daintily into the bath. Only a handful of press photographers supplemented by the usual number of people on the set. The technicians unconcernedly went about their business of picture-making.
The photographers were given a few minutes in which to shoot Ludmilla in different poses. Then property man Laslie Douglas whisked up the foam and the movie cameras went into action.
The whole matter-of fact business took up less than an hour. The most unusual aspects: they ran short of foam and they did get worried about the adjustment to the Cinemascope lens on the camera.
The morning after the bath day, I went down to Elstree Studios to see how things were getting along.
Charming Tcherina greeted me with a husky cough. She had a cold - the after-effect of the bath scene, she said, although she declared: "The bath was not really a bath you know - a few drops of water, that is all."
Summing it up, I thought that the whole business - bath and aftermath - had been pretty mild. Not because Ludmilla isn't as lovely as Marilyn is, mmm, or because I'm a blasé old studio floorwalker.
But because nobody in British studios seems to get as excited about newsy bits of movie-making as they do in Hollywood.
Now is that a good thing?
PS. Pictures of the Monroe bath sequence went round the world, advertising her Hollywood film.
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