AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Director: Stanley Donen (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Aug 1954
Duration (in mins):  102-103
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Cast: Howard Keel  (Adam)
  Jeff Richards  (Benjamin)
  Russ Tamblyn  (Gideon)
 

Summary: In the Oregon territory in 1850, farmer Adam Pontipee comes into town to trade and announces to the shopkeepers that he is in the market for a wife to keep house for him and his six younger brothers. He quickly becomes enamored of Milly, a pretty, hard-working young woman who cooks for the local boardinghouse. Explaining that the responsibilities of running a farm do not allow for a lengthy courtship, Adam proposes to Milly, and they are married right away. As they ride back to the farm, Milly rejoices that she will now have only one man to take care of, and Adam does not have the heart to spoil her illusion. When they reach the farm, Milly is stunned at the sight of all the rough-and-tumble Pontipee brothers, but she promptly sets about putting their back-woods home in order. That night, however, the brothers' appalling table manners infuriate Milly, and she reproachfully tells Adam that he wanted a servant, not a wife. Milly banishes Adam from the bedroom, then relents, confessing that she loved him at first sight. The following morning, Milly begins the task of civilizing the brothers, forcing them to submit to underwear-laundering and a shave before giving them breakfast. She also instructs them in the etiquette of courting women, and after a month, they all attend a barn-raising dance. Despite the brothers' efforts to be on their best behavior, they are drawn into a brawl by the men from town. Later, Milly overhears as the youngest brother, Gideon, tells Adam he fears the townspeople will never let the brothers court their women now. Winter comes, and the brothers find themselves lonesome and pining for female companionship. When brother Benjamin announces his intention to leave the farm, Milly tells Adam that the brothers are grieving for the women they met at the dance. Determined to keep his family together, Adam, who has been reading a copy of Plutarch's Lives given to Milly by her late father, hatches a plan. Gathering his brothers in the barn, Adam tells them they should follow the example of the ancient Romans with the Sabine women by carrying off their future brides. The Pontipee men go into town and abduct the women of their dreams, then ride off with the townspeople in pursuit. After getting through a treacherous mountain pass, the brothers fire their guns, causing an avalanche that prevents the townspeople from following them. Milly is shocked when the brothers show up with their captives, and sends all the men to live in the barn. Stung by Milly's harsh words, Adam goes to spend the rest of the winter in his trapping cabin in the mountains. The snowbound women soon begin to moon over the brothers, and when Milly announces she is going to have a baby, they all long to be married. Spring finally arrives, and the brothers and their girl friends happily pursue romance. Milly gives birth to a daughter, but when Gideon rides to the trapping cabin with the news, Adam stubbornly refuses to come home. Adam returns when the pass reopens, however, fearing an attack by the townspeople. After greeting his daughter Hannah and making up with Milly, Adam announces that the women will be returned to their families at once. The brothers oppose this plan, and while the men are sorting it out, the women run away. The brothers set about recapturing the women, who struggle fiercely as they now wish to stay. The women's kinfolk from town arrive in time to witness the fracas, and the brothers are quickly overpowered. Just as the townspeople are about to hang the brothers, Hannah's cries are heard from inside the house. Reverend Elcott inquires about the baby and, in a moment of inspiration, the women simultaneously claim to be the mother. A shotgun wedding is performed at once, and all the happy couples kiss. 

Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Director: Stanley Donen (Dir)
  Ridgeway Callow (Asst dir)
  Major Roup (Asst dir)
Producer: Jack Cummings (Prod)
Writer: Albert Hackett (Scr)
  Frances Goodrich (Scr)
  Dorothy Kingsley (Scr)

Subject Major: Abduction
  Brothers
  Farmers
  Marriage
  Romance
  United States--History--Social life and customs
 
Subject Minor: Avalanches
  Barn dances
  Cooks
  Courtship
  Etiquette
  Farms
  Hillbillies
  Infants
  Oregon
  Rivalry
  Snow
  Spring fever

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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