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USA 1954
Directed by
Stanley Donen
103 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

Irretrievably locked in the squeaky clean mindset of mid-1950s America when the summum of all existence was wedlock, Donen’s film does not have the longevity of his most famous work, Singin’ In The Rain (1952), although admittedly Gene Kelly was credited as co-director on that film. Partly it is because of the perfunctory treatment of the story (based on a Stephen Vincent Benet story, The Sobbin’ Women, itself based on the famous account by Plutarch of the abduction of the Sabine women), partly because the score by Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul is more light operatic than pop, none of the songs having made it into the repertoire of show standards.

Howard Keel plays a rough-hewn young Oregon settler who takes a comely maiden (Jane Powell) as a wife and returning to his mountain ranch with her, excites the amorous urges of his six younger brothers who decide they also need spouses. Ripe with unrealized potential, Powell and Keel are the only two characters given any development, the remainder being there essentially because of their skills as dancers, the choreography, once again more balletic than pop, by Michael Kidd being the film’s greatest strength with the set-piece, a “challenge”” dance, its high-point.




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