Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) starring Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall, Marc Platt, Matt Mattox, Jacques d'Amboise, Julie Newmar, Nancy Kilgas, Betty Carr, Virginia Gibson, Ruta Lee, Norma Doggett directed by Stanley Donen Movie Review

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Howard Keel and Jane Powell in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

7 Weddings and a Baby

When MGM made "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" it was originally conceived as a B movie, it didn't have a huge budget and was shot in just 48 days, but do you know what "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is a marvellous musical. There is just something about it, the fun atmosphere which radiates off of the screen which fills you with warmth and even if you don't get won over by the atmosphere the toe tapping tunes most certainly will. But there is another reason as to why for me I really enjoy "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and it's down to the fact that every musical scene, every dance and every song tells the story. There are no set piece scenes thrown in because the choreographer had some strange ideas for a great dance piece and every single lyric tells the story rather than being just a piece of musical fluff. And that is why "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" remains one of my favourite musicals.

As the oldest of the Pontipee brothers Adam (Howard Keel - Calamity Jane) heads in to town to find himself a wife one who is slim and trim but also sassy and not afraid of some hard work. And he succeeds in getting a wife when he finds Millie (Jane Powell) who he marries there and then taking her back to his home up in the back woods. Unaware that she is expected to wash, clean and cook for all the brothers Millie sets about whipping the rowdy Pontipee brothers into shape and turning them into gentlemen instead of pigs. And in doing so creates a problem as they all start wanting a woman in their lives, which leads to Adam coming up with a hair brained scheme to find women for all his brothers.

Jane Powell as Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

When it comes to the storyline "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" has what can only be described as a very simple one as it all revolves around a group of brothers getting themselves brides through any means necessary. That is really it but whilst simple it works and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" basically skips along at such a pace, threading in musical scenes at just the right moment, that the simple storyline ends up never being an issue. In fact being so simple makes it enjoyable as you know when Adam returns with Millie she will soon set about whipping him and his brothers into shape and it is fun. The same can be said of these rough and ready brothers trying to act like gentleman in order to win the affections of various young women.

But whilst simple "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is also simply fun. From the opening scene where Adam rolls in to town looking for a bride you can't but help smile, especially as he sings "Bless Yore Beautiful Hide" which has so many clever lines about looking for a girl who is slim, trim and sassy. And it continues because scenes around the Pontipee dinner table through to the dance scene at the barn raising all bring a whacking great smile to your face. You get a real sense that all of those involved had a great time making the movie and that sense of fun comes across in every single scene.

But what is pivotal for me is that the musical side of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is absolutely perfect. Every single song from "Goin' Co'tin'" through to "Sobbin' Women" is instantly memorable and thanks to the wonderful musical score which is bright and breezy you find yourself tapping your foot to the energetic numbers. But it is also because every song is cleverly written with lyrics which aren't just fluff but expand upon the story. And on top of this all the dance scenes are wonderfully choreographed and full of energy especially the dance scene at the barn construction. As with the actual songs what is nice is that these dance scenes are part of the story, they relate to the scene rather than appearing to be thrown in because someone had an idea for an impressive dance scene without caring whether it related to the story or not.

As for the performances well ironically many of the actors and actresses which played the brothers and the young women weren't singers or dancers and so there is some dubbing going on. But strangely you don't really notice it because the movie just sweeps you along on a wave fun and energy that you just enjoy what they are doing without caring how good they are. As for the two real stars of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" well Howard Keel as Adam delivers what for me is one of his finest performances, delivering every scene with confidence whilst belting out his various songs with such gusto that they make you sit up and pay attention. And Jane Powell is just perfect as his wife Millie and as is mentioned in the song "Bless Yore Beautiful Hide" she is trim, slim and sassy making for some wonderfully funny scenes as she single handedly whips the brother into being gentlemen.

What this all boils down to is that "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is simply a very enjoyable musical. The storyline maybe simple but it is delivered at such a brilliant pace that you don't really care and the most important elements the songs and dances all work brilliantly. But it is the sense of fun which makes it so enjoyable and all of the cast including Howard Keel and Jane Powell appear to be having a wonderful time in every scene.