movie log: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

We usually watch 2-3 movies as part of New Year’s Eve festivities here in geezerland. First up last night was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers directed by Stanley Donen, and starring Howard Keel, Russ Tamblyn, Jane Powell, Julie Newmar, and a host of others.

I’m a big fan of movie musicals and a long-time watcher of same, so I guess it’s kind of surprising that I hadn’t seen this before. And it didn’t disappoint; I’m sure I’ll be seeing this again some day.

It’s based on a story “The Sobbin’ Women” by Stephen Vincent Benet. Seven burly brothers live alone on a frontier farm/ranch in the US Pacific Northwest. The film opens with the oldest brother in town to fetch supplies and a wife. Somehow he manages to find one (a wife, Milly, played by Jane Powell), who is captivated by thoughts of an idyllic family life alone with her husband on his ranch. Arriving at the homestead she is rudely exposed to the existence of her new near-barbarian brothers-in-law, and to the fact that she’s expected to cook and clean and do other hard chores.

It’s not long before she’s trying to tame her new family. The brothers, inspired by the story of the Rape of the Sabine Women in a book that Milly brings (which they misstate as the “Sobbin’ Women”), decide to kidnap brides of their own. The plot unfolds with a lot of dancing and singing and fighting and attempted barn-raising.

All in all a very good movie musical, although it might not appeal to people who aren’t interested in older movies (pity on them). One distraction is the use of painted backgrounds, but one doesn’t need to let that get in the way of enjoying the film.