The 1954 movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers won the Oscar for Best Music – Scoring for a Motion Picture, and it was nominated for several other Oscars, including Best Picture.
Howard Keel, as Adam Pontipee rides into town to buy some supplies and to get a wife to take back to his farm. As soon as he started singing, I knew that I was in for one of those old musicals that I loved when they first came out in the late 50’s and early 60’s.
These kinds of movies are not filled with intense, penetrating drama, but they are great fun. Sometimes, that is all a movie needs to be: Fun–Fantastic Fun.
WARNING: The following review is absolutely a spoiler.
Mrs. Fred Bixby: [to Adam] Let me tell you something, no woman is gonna go to bear country with you to cook and wash and slave for seven slumachy back woodsmen.
As soon as they got back to the farm, however, Millie realizes that she has bitten off more than she can chew.
Millie: But I’m not going to bed. You don’t want a wife, Adam. You want a cook, a washerwoman. A hired girl.
The next morning, Millie sets down some new rules. She begins by taking everyone’s clothes and washing them. She tells them that if they want to eat, the brothers will have to get clean:
Milly: Good morning my brothers. If you’re looking for your outside clothes they’re hanging up drying on the line. I came in before and got them. I couldn’t get your inside clothes so I’ll take them now.
Benjamin Pontipee: Our underwear?
Milly: You’re winter underwear that you’re sleeping in. You might as well hand it over because you’re not gonna get your clothes or food or nothing til you get all cleaned up and shaved.
Benjamin Pontipee: Where’s Adam? We wanna talk to Adam.
Milly: He’s out plowing, he had his breakfast over a half an hour ago. I got hot muffins waiting, crisp bacon, steak, fryer potatoes, fresh ground coffee. Now do I get that winter underwear or do I have to come in there and take it off of you?
Benjamin Pontipee: Don’t listen to her. She wouldn’t dare.
Milly: Oh wouldn’t I?
The brothers realize that they need to find wives for themselves, and Milly gives them some tips:
When the Pontipees go to a barn raising, the brothers have a chance to try their lessons in manners on the area’s available women.
The Barn Raising was a catastrophe, but that didn’t happen before Gideon caught a case of love. His older, married brother talks to him about love.
But for a while, things seem doomed for the brothers.
Adam tells his brothers that they need to do what the Romans did with the Sabine Women [he calls them the Sobbin Women].
On the way home from nabbing their women, Adam manages to navigate a snowy pass so that they manage to safely pass, but the women’s families are caught on the other side of an avalanche.
But Millie is disgusted by the raid of the Sobbin Women, and she tells Adam that he’ll spend the winter sleeping in the barn with the rest of the livestock [the females moved into the house, but Millie deemed that the men would move out. The war began. At first, any time that the boys were around, the girls threw snowballs and buckets of water on them.
Benjamin Pontipee: [after Dorcas hits him with a snowball] Snowballs with rocks in them! Them poor little dears! Sobbin’ buckets o’ tears!
But the tide begins to turn, and the girls get tired of being stranded in the cabin–without the boys.
Liza: Doesn’t it do anything but snow up here? We’ve had a blizzard every day for the past two months. I’m going crazy, shut up in this house!
Adam has left the farm to spend the winter at his cabin, and Millie discovers that she is pregnant. When she tells the other girls that the baby will be coming in spring, the other girls begin to fantasize about being June brides themselves.
Dorcas: I’ve always wanted to be a June Bride… and have a baby right off, in the spring maybe.
“You’re about to forget the whole thing, All at once, one day, it’s Spring.”
Even though Adam hasn’t come back home, Millie’s baby is about to be delivered, and the brothers do the pacing the floor and the fretting that the expectant father usually does:
Gideon: [after Millie gives birth] I’m an uncle!
Gideon goes to the cabin to try to get Adam to come back home.
Gideon: Adam, you’re my eldest brother. Now I’ve always looked up to ya, tried to ape ya. But today I’m ashamed of you. Now I know you can lick me, lick the tar outta me! But I wouldn’t hold myself no kinda man unless I showed ya how I felt!
Adam: Why you…!
[throws him on horse, hands him reigns]
Adam: Now, GIT!
But Adam does come home and meets his new baby.
Adam: What do you call her?
Milly: I was thinking of some name like Hannah or Hagar or Hephzibah, picking up where your mother left off.
Adam: I got to thinking up at the cabin, about the baby. How I’d feel if someone came creeping in and carried her off. I’d string him up the nearest tree. I’d shoot him down as I would a thieving fox.
Now that winter is over, the avalanche has cleared, and Adam decides to correct his mistake and take the girls back to their homes in town. The boys don’t like that at all. But the girls overheard the plan and ran away. They didn’t want to go back either.
As the townspeople near the farmhouse, they hear Millie’s baby cry and think the worst–that their daughters have been raped and pillaged. Just as the fathers are about to “rescue” their daughters, the Reverend asks a question:
Rev. Elcott: [after rounding up the girls] Now we’re all fathers and we love you, so don’t be afraid to answer. A ways back I heard a wee babe crying in the house. Whose is it?
[girls look at one another]
Rev. Elcott: Whose is it, don’t be afraid to tell?
Girls: [all at once and smiling (they knew that if they had a baby, no one would oppose the marriage.] Mine!
All seven brothers were married right there, on the spot. The fathers stood behind their daughters, with their shotguns in their hands.
Again, this movie is great fun.
©July 3, 2016