Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Bless your beautiful hide!
This is one of the most entertaining, colorful, and outright fun movie musicals ever. We watch this over and over and never get tired of it.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers stars Howard Keel and Jane Powell. Howard Keel is Adam Pontipee, an Oregon backwoodsman who goes to the town in search of a wife. He chooses Milly, played by Jane Powell, who agrees to marry him after just one look. Because you know, Howard Keel. And also because Hollywood. But Milly doesn’t know that Adam wants a wife just to take care of him and his six brothers. Eventually Milly’s influence over the boys turns them into gentlemen, enough for them to start wooing six other girls from the town. But they take things a bit too far when they follow Adam’s advice to just take their women, like the Romans did to the Sabine women (or “Sobbin’ women” as he puts it). So over a long winter the six girls are stranded in the mountain with Milly, but when spring comes they’ve forgiven the brothers and they all get married. Whew.
I didn’t spoil the ending there because the title pretty much sums it up, right? The songs in the movie are so catchy, beginning with the first song “Bless Your Beautiful Hide”. That tune always gets stuck in our head and we keep singing it in bursts while watching the movie, until the next number. Which then gets stuck in our head again. “Goin’ Courtin'” and “Sobbin’ Women” are also catchy as all heck. But the highlight of the movie and my favorite part is the barn-raising sequence. It’s almost seven minutes of spectacular and joyous dancing. The six pairs (of course Howard and Jane are too special to join the shenanigans) all wear brightly colored shirts and dresses. It’s a feast for the eyes. And, this is where you get to see the mad skills of the cast, as four of the brothers and all brides are professional dancers. One of the brothers, Benjamin, is not really a dancer, which made me wonder why he was still cast with the others. But the movie’s Wikipedia page (which is a treasure trove of trivia!) states that he was under contract with MGM so I guess that’s why. He really didn’t ruin the number because he was mostly in the background. One of the brothers is a principal dancer with the New York City ballet, which makes his performance all the more interesting. Another bit of trivia? One of the women is Julie Newmar, Miss Catwoman herself!
Our coven also enjoys watching the scenes where the actors are supposed to be driving outdoors. The background scenery just looks so fake, but it makes the movie more endearing.
The “Lonesome Polecat” musical number is also one of my favorites because it’s another scene that shows the brothers dancing with axes (as you do) and singing. All-male harmonies are just awesome.
Watching Seven Brides always leaves us with a happy, upbeat feeling. This is another movie I would highly recommend. You just have to adjust your expectations a little bit so you don’t get surprised by dancing farmers wielding axes and saws.