★★★★☆ USA. 1h42m. Musical. Directed by Stanley Donen. Written by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, Dorothy Kingsley (screenplay) and Stephen Vincent Benét (“The Sobbin’ Women”). Cinematography by George J. Folsey. Edited by Ralph E. Winters. Music by Gene de Paul, Johnny Mercer, Adolph Deutsch, Saul Chaplin. Starring Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Jeff Richards, Matt Mattox, Marc Platt, Jacques d’Amboise, Tommy Rall, Russ Tamblyn, Julie Newmar.
Based on the short story “The Sobbin’ Women”, by Stephen Vincent Benét, which was based in turn on the ancient Roman legend of the Rape of the Sabine Women. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which is set in Oregon in 1850, is particularly known for Kidd’s unusual choreography, which makes dance numbers out of such mundane frontier pursuits as chopping wood and raising a barn. Film critic Stephanie Zacharek has called the barn-raising sequence in Seven Brides “one of the most rousing dance numbers ever put on screen.” Academy Award winner for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and nominated for four additional awards, including Best Picture (which it lost to Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront).