Debuting July 22, 1954 this classic musical will always be a childhood favourite of mine. Starring Jane Powell as Millie and Howard Keel as Adam, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers tells the story of how love can sneak in and capture the heart of anyone, even the unexpected. Taking place in Oregon in 1850, the scene opens with Adam Pontipee in the general store trading and selling his goods. Adam is a backwoodsman, so he doesn’t live in the town. When he mentions that he is looking to bring a wife back, the shopkeep tells him to go looking somewhere else, as all the ladies in town are spoken for. Laughing Adam leaves the store and breaks into song; describing the kinda girl he is looking for. He inspects every lady he runs into, but isn’t satisfied till he hits the lodge looking for a hot meal. That is where he finds Millie.
Now as this is an all time favourite, I do not want to do a whole summation giving away all the good parts. As the movie is titled Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, it is assumed there is a marriage to take place and a set of brothers involved. Adam Pontipee is the eldest of seven brothers, Adam, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Gideon and Frank. Unknown to Millie, these seven brothers are to become hers, as well as all the hard work that goes along with handling seven unruly backwoodsmen.
Millie is an amazingly strong female character. Even when she feels low or overwhelmed by circumstances she prevails. Brave and forward Millie gets what she sets out for, whether that be common courtesy at a table or unwashed long underwear, there is nothing that will stop her. Kind and gentle she seems to always have the right answer for the situation, she is seen as a confident leader to the women and this is something I always liked about the movie. Even though Adam is the head of the house, Millie runs the house and manages all the people within. Though these are typical rolls we can expect from an older movie, we don’t usually see the perseverance and respect for themselves that Millie seems to have for herself.
One of the best scenes in this movie is in the beginning. When Millie announces that she has to drive into town, all the brothers decide they want to come along. Leaving Adam behind, the Pontipee’s load into their horse drawn wagon and head to the general store. While Millie and Gideon are inside, the boys do their best to try and talk to a few ladies (Millie has a wonderful song about courting (dating) just following this scene) unfortunately luck isn’t on their side and a brawl breaks out. Three on one, Benjamin is dominating the fight, when Millie runs out frantic, exclaiming for her brothers to help stop the fight. One’s response is “What fer? Thers only three little ones”. Millie exclaims “stop this!” Soon after, Benjamin proceeds to fight the three, knocking them all out in turn. When done, he turns to Millie and says “It’s stopped” This scene is much better watched than described. If there is any reason at all to watch this movie, it would be for this scene.
- So there are a lot of interesting things about this movie, and I would like to start off with talking about its costume designer, Walter Plunkett. Walter has made many costumes for many famous rolls, and I must say all of the costumes came out wonderfully. For Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Walter made all the ladies costumes from old, authentic quilts. He bought the quilts at a salvation army, and from there went to creating his fine works.
- Since there were so male actors between the brothers and the townsfolk, the brothers were instructed to colour their hair red to create distinction between the two sets of suitors
- The choreography for this film was intricate and involves a lot of precise movements not only for dance numbers but for action sequences. For this reason Michael Kidd wanted all dancers to play the roles of the brothers.
- Jeff Richards (Benjamin) and Russ Tamblyn (Gideon) were the two brothers with no dancing experience. Jeff Richards was a professional baseball player and Russ Tamblyn was an acrobat. Russ was able to be more involved by means of his acrobatic talents. During dance numbers Jeff was not involved, this was done so as to not draw attention to his lack of dance skills.
- All the brides are professional dancers
- Dorkus (Julie Newmar/Julie Newmeyer) became Cat Woman on the 1960 Batman TV show
- Almost all the brides had their voices dubbed for the movie. The only two who were not dubbed were Jane Powell and Virginia Gibson
- February 28, 1955 Writers Guild of America award for Best Written American Musical
- March 30, 1955 Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture
- December 20, 1954 National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Best Films of the Year
I hope the information I have provided you with will lead you to watching this amazing movie ❤
Thanks for reading, I would love to hear about your favourite scene in the movie! If you’ve seen it, leave a comment below!