Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

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Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) is one of seven brothers, all of whom are looking for wives. Adam heads into town to find a lady, and convinces one named Milly (Jane Powell) to marry him that exact day.

After Milly readily accepts his proposal and the two get hitched, they head back to the backwoods home where Adam’s six brothers also live — six brothers that Milly did not know existed, since she didn’t know her husband before marrying him.

They’re a rough and rowdy bunch, and Milly sets out to whip them into shape and help them find wives of their own.

Stanley Donen directs the 1954 musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The film is based on the story “The Sobbin’ Women” by Stephen Vincent Benet.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a very stylish film. The wonderful costumes and use of color are very typical of the mid-50s. Everything is highly saturated and very pleasing to the eye.

Delightful songs also enhance the film’s mood, bringing a sense of fun, romance and excitement. There is some particularly clever choreography in the second half of the film, after the six brides arrive to marry the six brothers. (I would mark that as a spoiler, but the title of the film gives it away!) The dance numbers often utilize elements of the environment, like farm tools, as props, which makes them seem like a natural element of the film rather than dances that were just slapped on in the middle of the story.

Great performances are given by the whole cast. Howard Keel and Jane Powell are amazing as the film’s focal couple, and there’s a lot of magnetism between them as performers. As unbelievable as it is that Milly would agree to marry a man she didn’t know with no questions asked, they make a nice couple and are a whole lot of fun to watch.

With a mix of drama, romance, comedy and a more than enough fun to go around, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a film that keeps a firm grip on the viewer from beginning to end. Nobody makes a musical like Stanley Donen makes a musical, and this is another thoroughly enjoyable film from him. The score: 4/5

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