p.p1 Pontipee (Howard Keel) living on a farm

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is an MGM musical film that was directed by Stanley Donen in 1954, alongside Saul Chaplin and Gene de Paul who created the music, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and choreography by Michael Kidd.  The film is a heart warming and comical adaptation of The Sobbin’ Women, a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet who adapted his story from Life of Romulus by Plutarch, a story about the Sabine women; kidnapped by Roman soldiers with the intention of making these women their wives. In this film, instead of soldiers, there are the six brothers of Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) living on a farm in Oregon of 1850. They are given the idea to abduct the girls they had fallen in love with from their eldest brother, who had read about the tale in one of Milly’s (Jane Powell) books. Adam then rides with his six brothers into town, one by one they sack their girls and ride away. Eventually, the six brothers marry these girls. 
Adam Pontipee, a backwoodsman, rides into town in search of a wife. He meets Milly, and bluntly asks her to marry him. Foolish and naive as one young girl can be Milly says yes, and the only real concern she shows is if she will finish the rest of her chores in time. It isn’t until Milly takes Adam home that we understand why she said yes. She confessed that when she was asked by any other man she would get cold feet and change her mind, but with Adam she felt differently. It was love at first sight but if only it was also the other way around. During her ride with Adam back to his farm, Milly talks about her dreams of having a family and taking care of a man, which is ironic because she was about to walk into a house with six more of them. When they reach the Pontipee farm she is greeted by his six sloppy brothers; Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank, and Gideon. It didn’t take Milly longer than one day to learn that she wasn’t a wife, but someone to cook and clean after them. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the end of Milly and Adam. From the next morning on Milly forced the boys to clean up their act. It didn’t take her long to teach them to look and act like true gentleman. She takes the boys to a social gathering in town where they spot six girls; Dorcas, Ruth, Martha, Liza, Sarah, and Alice. After some dance lessons thanks to Milly it didn’t take long for the girls to fancy the brothers as well. However, a fight during the barn raising competition leaves Milly disappointed in the brothers and them sulking over their girls. Adam, the one who now requires the most help on how to be a gentleman, couldn’t stand to see his brothers in that state any longer, and takes them into town to take what is theirs. They kidnap the six girls and use their screams to cause an avalanche that blocks any of the townspeople from getting through to rescue them. In terror they run to Milly, who keeps the girls in the house and sends the boys away to live with the animals in the barn. The heavy snow has the girls stuck there for a few months. It’s when the girls become persistent to see the brothers, they start to fight, but come together for the great news- Milly is going to be having a baby. Adam had fled to a cabin after the men were kicked out of the house and even when Gideon had rode up there to give him the great news, he still refused to come back. It wasn’t until the birth of their baby that he returned. Now taking on the responsibilities of being a father, he realized the right thing to do was take the girls back to their families. However, the snow had melted away by then and they were already on their way to rescue the girls. By the time the townspeople make it to the farm, they see the girls running away begging not to be taken back. Reverend Elcott (Ian Wolfe) sees the new born and asks if it is any of theirs. The girls in unison decide to cheer that it is. The movie ends with a wedding ceremony of all six brothers, their girls, and the fathers standing in the background. The picture then blacks out as they kiss their brides.
You see the Pontipee brothers change a lot throughout the film. They start off sloppy and unmannered, but with Milly’s help learn to be true gentleman. Adam, the eldest brother, struggles to learn alongside his brothers, if anything he starts to become annoyed and question the progress in them. It isn’t until the end of the movie that he confesses his love and value for his wife. The film doesn’t take place in too many locations. It starts off with Adam in a market in town where Milly also takes the brothers to later on, the mountains that lead to his farm, the Pontipee home, and the location of the town gathering. Seeing that the film looks like it takes place during all four seasons of the year, I wondered how that was possible for filming in harsher weather conditions but then I learned that a lot of the scenes were done on MGM sound stages. However, the abduction of the six girls and the avalanche falling scene were done at Corral Creek Canyon in Sun Valley, Idaho. When the characters travel from different locations they are on horseback. However, I noticed that the background looks like a shaking picture, and the actors aren’t even moving as much as the background. I noticed this when Adam is taking Milly to his farm; the background is mountains that are covered in snow but the picture never changed as distance changed, which it should because aren’t they moving? During the scene where they stop in a forest like area there is wind blowing in the trees and bushes and everything looks much more realistic. The girls always wore long layered dresses with long sleeves which were made from old quilts found from the salvation army by the costume designer, Walter Plunkett. The men wore slacks, button ups, a hat, and sometimes a nice blazer. In the beginning, the Pontipee brothers were looked at as outcasts for their sloppy appearance, but when they start to dress as cleaned up as the rest of the men in town they received much more positive attention. 
Overall, I really enjoyed watching this film. It had my attention from beginning to end because it was sweet, heartwarming, but also comical. Jane Powell’s character, Milly, was my favorite because of her motivation to teach her brother in laws to be better and how she yearned to be a caregiver.  I, coming from a dance background, loved the choreography and partner work. I noticed when the six girls were dancing in the Pontipee home, their technique was exquisite, and I could tell they came from ballet backgrounds, as well as the male dancers. I believe the story started to lack details that people would have enjoyed to see, such as when Milly confessed to the girls she was pregnant. It would have been nicer to watch her relationship flourish with Adam to foreshadow something such as a child, because it seemed a bit random and as if something was missing. I also didn’t like that Howard Keel’s character, Adam, was gone for such a long time and came back after the birth of their baby. I felt that there could have been a better time and more exciting way to bring him back. For example, if his brother rushed to get him before the birth of their child and they came racing back together in time. I enjoyed the wedding of the six brothers as the final scene, because it was a happy ending that brought the meaning of the title to life. 

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