The eldest brother of seven returns home with a new
wife, and now all his brothers want wives of their own.
Seven Brides for
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a bizarre western musical with a plot that I suppose is whimsical for 1954, but would best fit a psychological thriller by today's standards. It begins with frontiersman Adam Pontipee (Keel) coming down from his mountain home and declaring "I want a wife." He doesn't care who she is or what she's like. All he wants is someone relatively hot who can cook and clean up after him and his six brothers who live with him. When he meets beautiful and spunky Milly (Powell), he proposes on the spot and (amazingly) she agrees. However, he doesn't tell her about the six brothers, and when she arrives at her new life, she's less than thrilled. This is the beginning of the film, by the way. It only gets crazier from here.
Howard Keel and Jane Powell have great chemistry, and even better singing voices. But they're the only ones who get any character development, and it isn't much. I feel like musicals, more than any other genre, have a serious loss of story and character progression thanks to the (mostly) forced song and dance routines. As a result, nothing feels natural, especially the outrageous mass kidnapping that occurs halfway through the film. All the brothers, fed up with waiting to court the women they fancy, sneak into town in the dead of night and straight-up kidnap them. On the way home, an avalanche traps them on the brothers' farm, and through a song montage about the seasons, the women all fell in love with their captors. We never get to see this, because logically, it wouldn't work.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has not aged particularly well, mostly because everything that was once goofy and wild is now considered completely insane. It's difficult to root for anyone because we never get to know them. All the brothers and all the women are interchangeable, and nobody stands out. I apologize to anyone out there who considers this one a favorite, but it just isn't for me.