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Close to perfect. A magical blend of the right story, a great score, and the astonishing choreography of Michael Kidd, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is one the big screen's most entertaining musicals. The action takes place in Oregon, where Adam (Howard Keel), the oldest of the
Pontabee brothers, who live on a ranch high in the mountains, decides to find a bride. In town, he meets Milly (Jane Powell), a waitress, and woos, marries, and takes her back to the homestead, which is considerably less civilized than she'd expected. Soon Adam's brothers decide they, too, would
like some female company, and, taking their inspiration from the story of the "Sobbin' Women" (Sabine women), they kidnap some local beauties, who have to winter at the ranch when an avalanche prevents the townspeople from rescuing them. Come spring, wedding bells ring for all. Based on Stephen
Vincent Benet's "The Sobbin' Women," SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is a rollicking film with a breathless pace, well-defined characters, and incredible vitality under Stanley Donen's direction, marred marginally by an overlying patina of corny Americana. Adolph Deutsch and Saul Chaplin's scoring
won an Oscar. The dynamo dancing is mostly due to the terrific male dancers, whose standouts include the barn-raising and the "Lonesome Polecat Lament" ballet. Keel and Powell have an adorable chemistry; neither would ever be this well-matched again, which reminds us we would have preferred Powell
in for Kathryn Grayson in KISS ME, KATE. Look for ripe Julie Newmar (then Newmeyer) among the other brides, whom we always found sexier as a wild-maned brunette. The score is by Gene dePaul and Johnny Mercer.