Sunday, July 6, 2014
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: A Colorful Collage of Songs & Dances...Plus an Awesome Breakfast
The score by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul is a tuneful one. “Wonderful, Wonderful Day” and “When You’re in Love” are bright, pretty love songs. But Mercer’s best lyrics are reserved for “Lonesome Polecat,” a woeful lament sung by the lovesick brothers (a sample line: “A man can’t sleep when he sleeps with sheep”).
The cast is uniformly fine, with Powell and Keel generating the required chemistry as the romantic leads. Four of the brothers were accomplished dancers (I think Matt Mattox, who plays Caleb, is the best). Russ Tamblyn, who had no prior dancing experience (he was an acrobat), is quite appealing as the youngest brother. It’s hard to believe it’s the same actor who would later played a key role in the wonderfully weird TV series Twin Peaks.
I first saw Seven Brides on The CBS Late Movie in the mid-1970s. I liked it well enough then, but my fondness for it has grown significantly over the years. See a good print of it, if possible, so you can enjoy the vibrant colors. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers inspired a mediocre, short-lived TV series and a very successful Broadway play.
It has also played in a key role in a running joke between my mother-in-law and me. In one scene in Seven Brides, Jane Powell's character fixes the brothers an incredible breakfast with everything you can imagine: flapjacks, sausage, eggs, biscuits, potatoes, etc. So when visiting my's wife folks, if my mother-in-law asks if I want something to eat in the morning, I always reply: "A Jane Powell breakfast would be nice." I never get one, though. But I do get to hear a lovely laugh in response.