Saturday, November 15, 2014

271. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

Running Time: 102 minutes
Directed By: Stanley Donen
Written By: Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, Dorothy Kingsley, from the story The Sobbin' Women by Stephen Vincent Benet
Main Cast: Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn, Jeff Richards, Matt Mattox
Click here to view the trailer


So we go from an underground, almost softcore pornography in Pink Flamingos to the cute, lively and 100% sexist film from the 50s, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. You couldn't get two different movies and yet, I disliked them both.

It all begins with Adam Pontipee (Keel, who looks like a cross between Ron Burgundy and the Brawny paper towel man) going into town to buy some supplies and noting that he's also looking for a bride. The shopkeepers basically tell him to get lost, saying that there are no brides to be in the town. Adam is persistent though, so he goes through town singing a song and finally lands at the doorstep of a cute blonde named Milly (Powell). He introduces himself to her, talks to her for all of two minutes and somehow convinces her to marry him in that time. So it's back to his cabin in the outskirts of nowhere, where she meets his six brothers: Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frankincense and Gideon (named in alphabetical succession and all Bible names - how adorable!). The boys are all wild men at first, but Milly works on the lot of them and eventually transforms them into gentlemen. While attending a barn raising, the boys dress in their finest colored shirts (each one in a different color - how adorable!) and end up meeting six women. Back home, the boys mope about not being married like Adam, so Adam convinces his brothers that they just need to go and get their brides to be. So that's what they do. They literally go to these women's homes and kidnap them, taking them back to their little shanty in the woods. And this is all supposed to be cute, you see. It's a 50s musical people, so you better know that it all ends up sunshine & roses in the end and if you can't predict the ending you must be new to the cinema game.

I don't wanna' make like I was totally offended by the plot, because I really wasn't; but damn, it was seriously sexist wasn't it? I mean, I'm not one to really be bothered by such things, but I could totally see how someone (especially women) might be put off by all this "kidnapping in good fun" stuff and singing songs about how macho you are and how your wife just needs to stick to the housework and the cooking. Speaking of the songs, I'm usually up for a good musical, but these songs pretty much sucked to put it bluntly. I mean, I wasn't humming one five minutes after it ended and would be hard pressed to even remember the names of the tunes even now, less than twenty-four hours after finishing it. I mean, there just wasn't a whole lot to like here and even the words "above average" appeared in THE BOOK'S summary of this one - in a BOOK where those words don't really make me feel like I MUST SEE something. I wasn't impressed by the acting and the plot was just stupid. Man goes off and married a woman, treats her like crap and then his brothers wanna' do the same thing so he tells them to kidnap six girls. Geez!

How did I not know that the guy who played Riff in West Side Story and the guy who played Dr. Jacoby in Twin Peaks were the same person and that they were both named Russ Tamblyn? While watching this I thought I recognized Riff and pulled out my phone to consult Wikipedia, only to find a photo of Dr. Jacoby plastered to his Wiki entry. A real "wow" moment for me. Anyway, not a lot left to say here folks. If you dig old, cutesy, goody-goody musicals then this might be for you, but beware because there's definitely some potentially offensive material wound throughout the tunes. It's no wonder you probably haven't heard of a lot of the actors here, because the acting on display here just isn't up to snuff. I love Tamblyn, but he's doing nothing of note here and Keel and Powell aren't worth writing home about either. I will note that the choreography is pretty great and keep an eye out for the scene where the boys try to raise the barn and get into a fight AND the scene just prior to that where they dance with the girls and square off with the guys. Probably the only good thing about this one.

RATING: 4.5/10  Can't even get it to the halfway marker and that's a shame because I really could've used something great to lift my spirits after the dread that was Pink Flamingos. Oh well...


November 15, 2014  6:08pm


  1. SCREAM!
    Ahhhh No, No, No .. not Seven stereotypes for seven Misogynists. Do I loath this more than Sound of Mucus.. is it more offensive than Gigi?
    You gave me a very brief moment of fear when a sentence started with calling this cute and lively .. but you rapidly reassured me, and we settled into a reasonable agree fest.
    OK, this film is even older than I am.. and it's tempting to excuse with 'different times'?? maybe .. But was this OK even back then?
    I fear I feel another of my occasional rants coming on, so I think I will leave it at that..
    Nice post Andrew, I only really disagree with going as high on the score as you did.
    Amanda.. are you out there reading this? Care to back me up?

    1. Yeah, I figured you'd hate this one more than I, as I can usually swallow a good musical. Except this wasn't good and more creepy than anything, thinking that this passed for wholesome family entertainment.


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