Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

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Adam goes to town to get a wife and comes back with Milly. But then he talks his six brothers into kidnapping women to marry them too and Milly – and the women concerned are less than impressed.


“Bless yore beautiful hide, wherever you may be..” Who, on hearing Howard Keel, burst into deep-voiced song, as he seeks out Jane Powell, can fail to feel similarly inspired? Yes, on the surface it seems quite sexist, but there’s no doubt that whatever the menfolk’s posturing, it’s the women who are running this show and that’s enough to condone a wagon load of inappropriate song lyrics, especially sing-a-long friendly ones like this.

      Keel and Powell spar nicely off each other as the couple who inspire the rest of his brothers to take wives. He tries to pretend he’s just married for practical reasons, she gradually civilises him – and the rest of the family - and he has to admit she was right all along. Of course, none of this comes easily and there’s a barn dance that goes awry, a ill-advised mass-kidnapping and avalanche, exile to the mountains (for Keel) and exile from the house (for the rest of the men) to deal with before the women gradually lower their defences to allow true love to blossom.

MGM’s infectiously, rabble-rousing musical bursts with life, colour and songs – the Barn Raising is a real show-stopper thanks to Michael Kidd’s choreography, featuring male dancing at its most athletic (rather than the usual compliment of good-looking faces who could dance a little, four of the male cast were trained dancers and one a gymnast) while Sobbin’ Women is both catchy and as non-PC as any male dominated pub conversation. June Bride has a lot to answer for in terms of the wedding season and Spring, Spring, Spring manages to wheel in lots of cute barnyard animals and establish the final romantic pairings.

The CinemaScope format is also a bonus, maximising the visual appeal of an immaculately styled Hollywood frontierland.

Great songs, great set pieces and solid performances in this colourful and infectiously enjoyable musical.