Austin Man Releases Unpublished Photos Of Marilyn Monroe’s Dress Scene From ‘The Seven Year Itch’ On Movies 50th Anniversary

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Joe Coudert, an 84-year-old retired photographer in Austin, is releasing some photos he took of Marilyn Monroe in 1954 while she was in NY filming The Seven Year Itch. He kept them in a file folder for more than 50 years before releasing them this week -- the 50th anniversary of the release of the movie.

More than fifty years ago, Joseph H. Coudert, a retired professional sports photographer living in South Austin, photographed what has become one of the single most enduring moments in the history of film: Marilyn Monroe’s infamous “dress scene” from The Seven Year Itch. On the 50th anniversary of the release of the movie, and for the first time since he shot the photos, Mr. Coudert is printing photos from his remarkable negatives and making them available to collectors around the world. Ms. Monroe would have been 79-years-old this week.

Mr. Coudert is working with Snap, an on-line sales and marketing company in Austin, to offer the photos on a limited edition basis to collectors worldwide. Snap released five never-before-seen candid photos of Ms. Monroe in lingerie by Mr. Coudert in December, 2004. They have been featured in major media, such as The Washington Post and Der Spiegel, and acquired by serious collectors around the world.

Three of the newly released photos, shot by Mr. Coudert at 52nd and Lexington in New York City in 1954, show Ms. Monroe preparing for the scene and then her white dress blowing up, uncontrollably, by the air released from a Manhattan subway grate. It’s been reported that her husband Joe DiMaggio was not pleased with all the gawking that took place and stormed off into the night. The censors never allowed this particular image into the final production. Eventually, they re-shot the scene in a studio.

Mr. Coudert’s outdoor sports photographer’s eye is evident in these highly unique photos. The pictures not only capture the legendary Ms. Monroe and her co-star Tom Ewell on the New York City-street set of this classic film, but also show the “sport of film making” from the director’s perspective. That is, you can see Billy Wilder and his crew in action. This makes these pictures more unique and they stand out from the thousands of production shots by more well-known Monroe photographers.

Ironically, Mr. Coudert thought these historical negatives had been long lost in one of his family’s many moves until recently when a file crudely labeled “7 Year Itch” was discovered by his daughter. Buried in a box of some of Mr. Coudert’s past projects, Sharon Coudert found the results of her father’s chance encounter with the star -- more than twenty rare and unpublished images of Ms. Monroe.    

Mr. Coudert won his first professional photography assignment at age 14 when he was hired by the Hartford-Courant (Conn.) and committed himself to the profession. He attended The School of Modern Photography in New York where he later taught. He also worked as a private detective, mastering the art of candid photography. His work has been published in Argosy, Blue Book, Coronet, Sports Afield and Sports Illustrated.

Only 100 original 11" by 14" prints of these recently rediscovered photos will be developed and offered by Mr. Coudert. These black and white pictures will be printed on 100 percent matte archival quality photo paper, and are signed and numbered by Mr. Coudert.

Collectors interested in viewing or purchasing the photographs can view them by going to Snap’s website at http://www.snaptosell.com, clicking on “View Auctions” and visiting Snap’s VIP Gallery. Periodically, the company also will release the photos on eBay.

About Snap to Sell

Snap is a new way for people to sell high-end and vintage cars, collections and estates. The company helps its customers make more money and save time versus traditional channels. The company combines traditional sales and marketing approaches with new on-line channels, such as eBay, Ask Art, Craig’s List and Snap’s VIP Gallery. You can reach Snap at 512-632-8765. Its website can be found at http://www.snaptosell.com.

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Paul Walker
SNAP
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