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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

(1954 c 102')

En: 7 Ed: 6

The oldest brother in a pioneer family of seven brothers quickly takes a wife, who teaches his brothers manners and courting amid much singing and dancing.

         In 1850 Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) arrives in Oregon Territory, goes into a store, and says he wants a wife. Four young women come in, but he is told they are spoken for. Adam goes outside and sings “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” as he walks through town. At an inn he sees Milly (Jane Powell) chopping wood. He tries her cooking and tells her he has a farm and needs a woman. He asks her to marry because he won’t be back for five months. She says she has to finish her chores. He shaves off his beard and gets a preacher. Rev. Elcott (Ian Wolfe) tries to talk her out of it and then performs the service. Milly and Adam talk while he drives the wagon.

         Among wild flowers Milly sings “Wonderful, Wonderful Day” to Adam. At the house Adam introduces her to his brothers Benjamin (Jeff Richards), Caleb (Matt Mattox),Daniel (Marc Platt), Ephraim (Jacques d'Amboise),Frank (Tommy Rall) and Gideon (Russ Tamblyn). She cooks and tells them to wait for grace; but they ignore her, and she turns up the table. At nine Adam tells his brothers to turn in. He knocks on her door and finds her sitting in a rocking chair. She demands her own sleeping place because he only wants a cook and a washer woman. He climbs out the window to sleep in a tree, and she sings “When You’re in Love” and invites him back in.

         At dawn the brothers smell breakfast but can’t find their clothes. Milly says they are drying on the line and demands their winter underwear. Wrapped in blankets, the brothers have breakfast after hearing grace. Milly goes to town with the six brothers. While she shops with Gideon, two talk to young women and fight men. At home Milly teaches the brothers how to talk to a girl and act like a gentleman. She sings “Goin’ Courtin’,” and then they dance.

         Milly and the brothers are dressed up and go to a barn raising. Adam notices their new manners with the girls. Five couples dance on the barn floor, and the brothers cut in. Four teams compete in raising the walls. The brothers suffer accidents from the others but do not fight back. Adam calls them “Mama’s boys.” Then Adam is hit, and a fight starts, knocking down all four walls.

         At home Milly treats their wounds with witch hazel. Gideon asks Adam if he is in love, and Adam sings, “When You’re in Love.” The brothers chop wood in the snow, and Caleb and his brothers sing “Lonesome Polecat.”

         Benjamin tells Milly that he is leaving. Milly tells Adam his brothers are grieving for their girls. Adam calls them “lovesick” and tells them to go marry them like the Romans carried off the Sabine women. Adam sings, “Sobbin’ Women” with them. They go to town and kidnap six women. Men ride after them but are stopped by an avalanche. Milly says to take them back. Gideon realizes they forgot to get the parson. Milly says all seven brothers have to stay out of the house, and they sleep in the barn. Adam says he is going up to the cabin. Gideon tells Milly and asks her to persuade him to stay.

         In the morning the brothers shovel snow by the windows. At night Caleb asks Milly for an extra blanket. Benjamin asks for a remedy for his leg. Milly refuses to let others in. The women in their winter underwear get into a fight. Milly says she is going to have a baby and asks them to help her. The six women sing “June Bride” and dance.

          In the spring the men sing “Spring, Spring, Spring” with the women. In the house men pace while Milly is having her baby. Milly holds her baby, and the men bring in a crib and a high chair and kiss Milly. Gideon goes to Adam at the cabin and says Milly had a girl. Adam refuses to come, and Gideon hits him.

         In town the pass is declared open, and the men gather to go. The brothers and women are playing musical chairs when Adam comes in. He tells Gideon to hitch up the wagon and looks at his baby. Adam names her Hannah and says he did some thinking and does not want his daughter carried off. He says he is taking the girls back to their families. The brothers tell Adam he is not taking them back. Adam advises them not to fight the girls’ kinfolk, and Gideon stands with Adam. Milly says the girls ran away. Gideon finds Alice and tells her she must go back. The other girls are found. The men with guns arrive. The girls jump out of the wagon, and their fathers claim them. Rev. Elcott performs the wedding service for the six couples, and they all kiss.

         This musical comedy entertains with singing and energetic dancing as the first wife teaches the six brothers how to win wives with gentle kindness while Adam comes to realize that the Romans’ rape of the Sabine women is not the best model for courting.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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