Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

In one of the greatest, most successful and most exuberant dance musicals from MGM in the 50s, from director Stanley Donen; the musical was derived from a Stephen Vincent Benet short story titled The Sobbin' Women; the film featured many incredibly dynamic dancing scenes (choreographed by Michael Kidd although shot entirely on a sound stage), and an Oscar-winning Musical Score (by Saul Chaplin and Adolph Deutsch), with great Gene de Paul/Johnny Mercer songs in the score; other nominations included Best Picture, Best Color Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • set in the 1850s in the Oregon Territory, the musical told about the six unmarried brothers of Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) - an Oregon farmer (the eldest of seven brothers), who abducted maidens from town for purposes of marriage
  • in the early scenes, Adam journeyed to town to buy winter supplies (corn, farm equipment, etc.), and spotted the beautiful, hard-working Milly (Jane Powell), who was chopping wood and serving home-made stew to customers at a local boarding house; he sang Bless Your Beautiful Hide and decided that they would get married since she would make a great cook and house-keeper
  • on the way back to the remote Pontipee farm, she joyfully sang Wonderful, Wonderful Day about her married future with him - not knowing that she would be caring for six younger, rough lumberjacking brothers as well; after meeting Adam's six unmarried, unruly and rambunctuous brothers and their unkempt house, Milly realized that Adam had married her for her maid and servant skills; Milly took it upon herself to civilize the brothers (with lessons on wearing underwear and shaving), as she sang Goin' Courtin' with a polka tune, she taught the boys about the etiquette of courting women
  • about a month later came the film's highlight - a lively and large-scale dance number - a sensational, 8-minute barn-raising dance sequence in the local town. It began with a competitive challenge dance of gymnastic, acrobatic leaps and balletic steps (between the local suitors in town and the Pontipees); each of the brothers showed off on a single or double narrow plank

"Barn-Raising" Ballet Sequence

Rowdy Fist-Fighting Brawl

Throughout the film, the brothers (with names from A to G) were identified by different colored shirts, while paired up with six women (they also wore different colored dresses in the 'barn-dance' sequence).

  • Adam (light green)
  • Benjamin (orange) - Jeff Richards
  • Caleb (yellow) - Matt Mattox
  • Daniel (mauve) - Marc Platt
  • Ephraim (dark green) - Jacques d'Amboise
  • Frank (red) - Tommy Rall
  • Gideon (blue) - Russ Tamblyn
  • Milly
  • Dorcas Gaylen (purple) - Julie Newmar (Newmeyer)
  • Ruth Jepson (blue) - Ruta Lee (Kilmonis)
  • Martha (light green) - Norma Doggett
  • Liza (pink) - Virginia Gibson
  • Sarah Kine (light yellow) - Betty Carr
  • Alice Elcott (peach) - Nancy Kilgas
  • the barn-raising was followed by a choreographed, rowdy fist-fighting brawl between the brothers and other jealous suitors in the local town who were all vying for the attention of the young women
  • after the brawling fight in town and the approach of winter, during chore-time, the lovesick brothers lamented their situation by singing a lovesick song Lament (I'm a Lonesome Polecat), and pining for female companionship, while chopping wood (with rhythmic axe blows and saw strokes)
  • Adam came up with a dubious plan for the brothers, based on Plutarch's ancient Roman legend (Life of Romulus) of the Rape of the Sabine Women. He lustfully sang Sobbin' Women. The brothers went to town to kidnap the women, then brought them home, and as they were pursued, a snowslide on a mountain pass blocked the road behind them. They were saved, but the six females were also trapped for the winter
  • when Milly discovered what had happened, she banished the brothers to sleep in the barn for the winter and prohibited any more courting; Adam was also a target of Milly's furious wrath and he was forced to leave for the mountains and exiled for the winter in his hunting cabin
  • with the arrival of spring, the women were now wishing to pursue romance reunite with the men, and get married after a long winter, and they sang June Bride in their white underthings. Meanwhile, Milly gave birth to a baby girl in the spring
  • Adam returned and made up with Milly, and helped to care for their newborn child Hannah. He was also ready to announce that the women would be returned to their families, but the plan was opposed by the brothers - and the women who wanted to stay - they ran off to protest returning to the town
  • at the same time, the fathers of the abducted women and their angry suitors arrived, caused a fracas, and threatened to hang the brothers. However, the sounds of Hannah's crying prompted all of the females to simultaneously claim that the baby was theirs ("Mine!")
  • the Reverend Elcott (Ian Wolfe), Alice's father, conducted a six-way shot-gun wedding ceremony. The film concluded with Spring, Spring, Spring, a sweethearts' song sung by the brothers and their new brides, in various springtime settings for each of the courting couples

Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) Singing "Bless Your Beautiful Hide"

Milly (Jane Powell) Singing "Wonderful, Wonderful Day"

"Goin' Courtin'" - Lessons from Milly on Courting

"Lament (I'm a Lonesome Polecat)"

"Sobbin' Women" - Adam's Solution - Kidnap the Females in Town

The Kidnapped Women Singing "June Bride"

"Spring, Spring, Spring" - a Courting Song


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