Friday, 24 July 2015

Film Friday: Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

On Film Friday, 1954's Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.



In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), is a musical starring Howard Keel and Jane Powell, photographed in Ansco Color in the CinemaScope format. 


 Directed by Stanley Donen, with music by Saul Chaplin and Gene de Paul the lyrics were by Johnny Mercer.


The screenplay, by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, and Dorothy Kingsley, is based on the short story "The Sobbin' Women", by Stephen Vincent Benét, which was based in turn on the Ancient Roman legend of The Rape of the Sabine Women.  

Originally, the film was going to be titled "The Sobbin' Women", but MGM executives thought audiences wouldn't be interested in seeing a film with this title. It was first retitled "A Bride for Seven Brothers", but the censors thought this sounded too risqué, so it was altered to "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". 


 The film which was shot in only forty eight days won the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and was nominated for four additional awards, including Best Picture of the Year (where it lost the award to On the Waterfront). In 2006, American Film Institute named Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as one of the best American musical films ever made.


Seven Brides is particularly known for Michael Kidd's unusual choreography, which makes dance numbers out of mundane frontier pursuits such as chopping wood and raising a barn. Film critic Stephanie Zacharek has called the barn-raising sequence in Seven Brides "one of the most rousing dance numbers ever put on screen."


 For the brides' costumes, designer Walter Plunkett went to the Salvation Army, found old quilts and turned them into dresses.

 
Julie Newmar who played Dorcas was already an accomplished dancer but never got a chance to show off her skills because her dance partner Jeff Richards (Benjamin Pontipee) was a former professional baseball player with no dancing skills. 

 
Did you know ... that the censors weren't happy about the line in the song "Lonesome Polecat" where the brothers lament "A man can't sleep when he sleeps with sheep". By not showing any sheep in the same shot as the brothers, the film-makers were able to get away with it.


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Have you ever seen Seven Brides For Seven Brothers? 

4 comments:

  1. An absolute favourite because it was one of my Nan's favourite films. She was a huge fan of Howard Keel.

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  2. I love this film! I love tgat song, "oh they say when you marry in June' and the clever avalanche scene! X

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  3. After my parent's divorce I stayed with my dad on the weekends. He usually had to work and left me bored and alone - I discovered the VHS of Seven Brides (along with Calamity Jane with Doris Day and Little Women with Liz Taylor) I watched those 3 movies every weekend for years. Memorized every word and choreography.

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  4. I love this movie so much! It's campy, uber fun, and chocked full of greet costumes and catchy tunes - what's not to adore about it?

    ♥ Jessica

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