Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@outlook.com) is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

The Movie

I found this movie musical from 1954 to be thoroughly enjoyable.

There's only one serious problem: the music itself is un-memorable. But this is made up for by an unusual story, interesting characters, vivid colorful photography, and amazingly choreographed song-and-dance numbers.

The story: backwoodsmen in 1850's Oregon are starving for wives. They go to town and grab the women they want. An avalanche cuts off the town from the back woods after the girls are taken, and while everybody waits for spring, the guys and gals get to know each other.

That's about it. From a 21st Century perspective it sounds sexist and demeaning, especially when you consider that one of the main musical numbers features the girls cavorting about their bedroom in their underwear.

In reality, the girls have the upper hand, and the main character, played by Jane Powell, teaches the men a thing or two. Michael Kidd's choreography in the barn-raising sequence is absolutely amazing. This entire sequence is worth the price of admission. The athleticism and gymnastics are awesome.

The DVD

I watched the film in full screen version, on Disc 2. Disc 1 contains the CInemaScope version, which was produced at the same time. That is, the full screen version is not a pan and scanned version of the first, it was shot at the same time as the wide screen version since there were concerns that many theaters would not be able to handle the wide screen version. Colors are quite vivid and the image clear.

We see very clearly how much interior sets were used, not outdoor filming. I think this contributes to the charm of the story, myself. Disc 2 contains several extras. One is an extended documentary about the filming of the movie, hosted by the main star, the late Howard Keel.

This is one of the more interesting documentaries I've seen; many of the original participants are interviewed. For such an old film this is quite an accomplishment, and it's a pleasure seeing these folks talk so fondly of their memories of the making of this film.

Another interesting extra is an extended recording of MGM's orchestra playing snippets from MGM films. It's quite a good performance and one is left very impressed with the number and quality of tunes MGM films spawned over the years.



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