Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954)



Reviews and Comments

In 1954, director Stanley Donen and producer Jack Cummings teamed up to make one of the most celebrated musicals of all time. The barn dance is the most famous scene -- one of the most impressive, energetic, spirited, and funny dances ever put to film. In it, the seven brothers of the title compete in a game of one-upmanship with the other men of the town. The scene is featured time and again in montages of highlights from the "golden age" of movie musicals.

The central love story between the main characters (Jane Powell and Howard Keel) is what holds the film together. Their performances are sincere and heartfelt. The fundamental flaw in all too many musicals is shallow characterization, but that's not a problem here.

The film is also about Powell making civil gentlemen of Keel and his six brothers and what that does to her relationship with her new husband. The delightful conventions of musicals are all present here: in the course of a single song, the brothers all learn to dance like Gene Kelly. Yet miraculously this doesn't compromise the humanity or sincerity of the characters. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has an endearing way of turning its fluff "musical" plot into the plight of real people striving to fulfill their basic yet treasured dreams in a world that doesn't know what to do with them.

With its characters so easy to relate to, we thus enjoy the film's excellent musical score and sense of humor all the more. Don't miss this great American classic.