Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

4.8 36
Director: Stanley Donen

Cast: Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn


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Based extremely loosely on the Stephen Vincent Benet story Sobbin' Women, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of the best MGM musicals of the 1950s. Most of the story takes place on an Oregon ranch, maintained by Adam Pontabee (Howard Keel) and his six brothers, played by Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall, Mark Platt, Matt Mattox, and JacquesSee more details below

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Based extremely loosely on the Stephen Vincent Benet story Sobbin' Women, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of the best MGM musicals of the 1950s. Most of the story takes place on an Oregon ranch, maintained by Adam Pontabee (Howard Keel) and his six brothers, played by Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall, Mark Platt, Matt Mattox, and Jacques d'Amboise (it is no coincidence that five of those six boys are played by professional dancers). When Adam brings home his new bride Milly (Jane Powell), she is appalled at the brothers' slovenliness and sets about turning these unwashed louts into immaculate gentlemen. During the boisterous barn-raising scene, the brothers get into a scuffle with a group of townsmen over the affection of six comely lasses: Virginia Gibson, Julie Newmeyer (later Newmar), Ruth Kilmonis (later Ruth Lee), Nancy Kilgas, Betty Carr, and Norma Doggett (yep, most of the girls are dancers, too). Yearning to become husbands like their big brother, they ask Adam for advice. Alas, he has been reading a book about the abduction of the Sabine Women (or, as he puts it, the Sobbin' Women); and, in order to claim their gals, Adam explains, the boys must kidnap them--which they do, after blocking off all avenues of escape. Vowing to remain on their best behavior, the boys make no untoward advances towards their reluctant female guests--not even during one of the coldest winters on record. Comes the spring thaw, the angry townsfolk come charging up the mountain, demanding the return of the stolen girls (who, by this time, have "tamed" their men). A happy ending is ultimately had by all in this delightful if politically incorrect concoction.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Two discs for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! Fans of Stanley Donen's rowdy, lusty MGM musical will kick up their boots for this truly special edition. It contains not only a close approximation of the original CinemaScope version but also the rarely seen full-screen version that MGM insisted Donen make simultaneously, so it could be shown in theaters that lacked the then-revolutionary widescreen equipment. Howard Keel stars as Adam, an Oregon mountain man in the market for a bride. Jane Powell is Milly, who accepts the proposal, only to find herself playing cook and maid to Adam and his six boisterous, brawling brothers. She attempts to civilize her new husband and her lovelorn brothers-in-law, all of whom want wives of their own. Adam proposes a more direct approach than "goin' co'tin" -- kidnap the prospective brides! According to Donen's commentary and an entertaining documentary about the making of the film, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was budgeted as a B-movie by MGM, forcing Donen to film on sound stages rather than on location. But it endures as one of the last great MGM musicals, and one of the most beloved. The high-spirited performances are infectious, especially during the classic barn-raising extravaganza, and the Saul Chapin-Gene de Paul score, while it did not produce any hits, remains a delight, with such tunes as "Bless Your Beautiful Hide" and the haunting "Lonesome Polecat." A decided improvement over previous pan-and-scan versions, this features-laden set is the one to have and to hold, from this day forward.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of the screen's most exuberant musicals -- no small feat considering that the stolid Howard Keel plays the male lead. Fortunately, Keel is looser and livelier here than in many of his roles. Whether it's the part or director Stanley Donen, he seems inspired to have fun, whether cockily blustering through the town looking for a bride or sulking after a good reprimanding. He's well matched by Jane Powell, who achieves a fine blend of perkiness and motherliness. Both leads sound great, with Keel's rich baritone bursting forth in "Bless Yore Beautiful Hide" and Powell's soprano trilling nicely in "Wonderful, Wonderful Day." What makes the film, however, is the dancing. Michael Kidd's choreography is among the most athletic and exciting on film. The barn-raising sequence in particular is a rousing classic, with leaps, turns, and log rolls that leave the audience thrilled. Special mention must also be made of the lovely, gentle "Lonesome Polecat" ballet, in which minimal movement is used for maximum impact. The screenplay is solid and well-constructed, although contemporary audiences may find aspects of the story dated. Donen, already respected for such earlier musicals as Singin' in the Rain and On the Town, would go on to direct It's Always Fair Weather and Funny Face.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by director Stanley Donen; Donen musicals trailer gallery

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Howard Keel Adam Pontabee
Jeff Richards Benjamin Pontabee
Russ Tamblyn Gideon Pontabee
Tommy Rall Frank Pontabee
Marc Platt Daniel Pontabee
Jane Powell Milly Pontabee
Matt Mattox Caleb Pontabee
Julie Newmar Dorcas
Howard Petrie Pete Perkins
Jacques D'Amboise Ephraim Pontabee
Nancy Kilgas Alice
Betty Carr Sarah
Virginia Gibson Liza
Ian Wolfe Rev. Elcott
Earl Barton Harry
Dante DiPaolo Matt
Kelly Brown Carl
Matt Moore Ruth's Uncle
Dick Rich Dorcas' Father
Marjorie Wood Mrs. Bixby
Russell Simpson Mr. Bixby
Tim Graham Father
Lois Hall Girl
Jarma Lewis Lem's Girl Friend
Phil Rich Prospector
George Robotham Swains
Russell Saunders Actor
Terry Wilson Actor
Walter Beaver Lem
Ruta Lee Ruth
Sheila James Dorcas' Sister
I. Stanford Jolley Father
Anna Q. Nilsson Mrs. Elcott
Larry Blake Drunk

Technical Credits
Stanley Donen Director
Saul Chaplin Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Alexander Courage Musical Arrangement
Jack Cummings Producer
Gene de Paul Songwriter
Adolph Deutsch Musical Direction/Supervision
George Folsey Cinematographer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Frances Goodrich Screenwriter
Albert Hackett Screenwriter
Hugh Hunt Set Decoration/Design
Michael Kidd Choreography
Dorothy Kingsley Screenwriter
Urie McCleary Art Director
Johnny Mercer Songwriter
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
Ralph Winters Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
1. Credits [1:41]
2. Wife Shopping [2:21]
3. Bless Yore Beautiful Hide [2:30]
4. Determined to Marry [4:36]
5. Echo Pass Elation [2:01]
6. Wonderful Wonderful Day [3:20]
7. Brothers From A to G [3:58]
8. Slopping the Hogs [2:25]
9. Milly's Terms [2:21]
10. When You're in Love [3:21]
11. Brothers Bare All [3:09]
12. Trouble in Town [1:52]
13. Goin' Co'tin [5:04]
14. Mannerly Men [2:11]
15. Bernraising Dance [6:34]
16. Barnraising Brawl [5:24]
17. Wounded [1:22]
18. Lonesome Polecat [2:47]
19. Sobbin' Women [5:17]
20. Creative Kidnapping [4:20]
21. Pursuit and Avalanche [2:56]
22. Can't Abide [3:46]
23. Poor Little Dears [3:51]
24. Cat Fight [3:14]
25. June Bride [2:33]
26. Spring, Spring, Spring [4:04]
27. Brotherly Baby Watch [2:37]
28. Open Pass, Open Heart [3:30]
29. Search and Rescue [3:20]
30. Shotgun Weddings [3:13]
31. Cast List [1:10]

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