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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954)

Set in 1850 Oregon, a frontiersman (Howard Keel) comes into town looking for a wife. He finds a willing bride (Jane Powell) but when she arrives at his farm, she discovers he has six brothers that he didn't tell her about. But having a woman on the place only makes the brothers desirous of brides of their own. This Oscar nominated (best picture) folksy and raucous musical is one of the most joyous of all film musicals. Inspired by Stephen Vincent Benet's short story SOBBIN' WOMEN, director Stanley Donen aided immeasurably by choreographer Michael Kidd gives us a robust and energetic entertainment that hasn't lost its luster in the ensuing years. The film's musical set piece, the barn raising dance may well be the best dance number in an MGM musical film that didn't involve Astaire or Kelly. The songs by Johnny Mercer and Gene De Paul are melodic and clever and it won the best scoring of a musical Oscar for Saul Chaplin and Adolph Deutsch. There's been some contemporary backlash against the film for being politically incorrect. Hairy mountain men kidnapping women and carrying them off to their mountain lair may be appalling but the film obviously doesn't condone it so ..... lighten up! As the brothers: Russ Tamblyn, Jacques D'Amoise, Tommy Rall, Jeff Richards, Marc Platt and Matt Mattox and as the brides: Julie Newmar, Ruta Lee, Virginia Gibson, Betty Carr, Nancy Kilgas and Norma Doggett.

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