Yesterday, in spite of the fact I was recovering from a terrible cold and should’ve never left the house, I spent the afternoon out with my youngest daughter running errands and shopping. By the time we got back home, all I wanted to do was throw my pajamas on and COLLAPSE with an iced raspberry tea. After crawling into the PJs and pouring the tea, I headed for my favorite swivel rocker, with every intention of popping in a Rita Hayworth or Lucille Ball movie to make me feel better.
I decided to check TCM first, in case something irresistible was coming on.
Was it ever?! The redheads would have to wait.
An all-time favorite musical/movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Amazon), happened to just be coming on, which made me smile ear to ear – in between sneezes that threatened to shake my teeth loose.
The ridiculously fun 1956 musical stars Jane Powell (Milly), Howard Keel (Adam), and Russ Tamblyn at his scene-stealing best as the youngest son, Gideon. Although it’s a smaller role, gorgeous Julie Newmar stars as Dorcas (one of the “Seven Brides”). Although she was an accomplished dancer, she was unable to fully showcase her talent in Seven Brides because her “Brother” (Benjamin) was played by Jeff Richards, an ex-baseball player with zero dancing skills.
Benjamin seldom dances in the movie and if you ever wondered why, it’s simple, he’d have been more at home on a baseball field!
In fact, after doing a little research, it turns out that only four of the “brothers” were considered dancers. You’d never really know from watching the movie – everyone seems loaded with talent.
Heck, they all dance better than me… including the baseball player.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Trivia
- For the beautiful dresses worn by the Seven Brides, costume designer Walter Plunkett went to the local Salvation Army, bought old quilts and turned them into dresses! Not only do they make beautiful dresses, it rings more authentic than snazzier dresses would.
- One of the first things that jumps out at viewers is the fact that all 7 of the brothers are red-heads. This was a decision made in an effort to more easily distinguish between the brothers and the townsmen. The brothers also dress very differently.
- The movie was shot in 48 days!
- The women in the general store at the first of the movie will go on to become Adam’s sisters-in-law: Ruth (bonnet with blue ribbons), Sarah (hat with black band), Liza (bonnet with pink ribbon), and Dorcas (hat with brown band).
- Howard Keel (Adam) called Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, “one of my happiest filmmaking experiences at Metro Goldwyn Mayer…The cast was magnificent, and the chemistry irresistible. Jack Cummings had his stamp on the whole picture. Jane Powell, as Milly, was perfect, and I loved working with her. She was cute and persnickety and a multi-talented pro…It truly was one big happy family.”
- 6’4″ Howard Keel is considered the Errol Flynn and Clark Gable of musicals in the 1950’s. However, a lot of people will remember him best as Clayton Farlow in the legendary series Dallas.
The seven brothers & brides couples are:
- Adam & Milly
- Benjamin & Dorcas
- Caleb & Ruth
- Daniel & Martha
- Ephraim & Liza
- Frank & Sarah
- Gideon & Alice
If you’ve never seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Amazon dvd link), I highly recommend it. Heck, I highly recommend it if you’ve seen it a hundred times. You’ll enjoy one hundred and one just as much…. trust me, I’d know.
This movie is from a time when fun was the name of the game. No one worried about political correctness (don’t even get me started) – all they worried about was having a great time and giving the audience a fun ride.
Mission beautifully accomplished.
In the coming days, I’ll add more trivia and information for the entire wonderful cast. In the meantime, I hope you’ll grab your own dvd and take a trip back to a simpler…. much, much simpler… time.
Julie Newmar and Jeff Richards – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers