Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (50th-Anniversary Special Edition) (2 Discs) (R) (Widescreen) product details page

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (50th-Anniversary Special Edition) (2 Discs) (R) (Widescreen)

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of the screen's most exuberant musicals -- no small feat considering that the stolid Howard Keel plays the male lead. Fortunately, Keel is looser and livelier here than in many of his roles. Whether it's the part or director Stanley Donen, he seems inspired to have fun, whether cockily blustering through the town looking for a bride or sulking after a good reprimanding. He's well matched by Jane Powell, who achieves a fine blend of perkiness and motherliness. Both leads sound great, with Keel's rich baritone bursting forth in "Bless Yore Beautiful Hide" and Powell's soprano trilling nicely in "Wonderful, Wonderful Day." What makes the film, however, is the dancing. Michael Kidd's choreography is among the most athletic and exciting on film. The barn-raising sequence in particular is a rousing classic, with leaps, turns, and log rolls that leave the audience thrilled. Special mention must also be made of the lovely, gentle "Lonesome Polecat" ballet, in which minimal movement is used for maximum impact. The screenplay is solid and well-constructed, although contemporary audiences may find aspects of the story dated. Donen, already respected for such earlier musicals as Singin' in the Rain and On the Town, would go on to direct It's Always Fair Weather and Funny Face. Craig Butler, All Movie Guide