Musical Monday: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Yes kids, it’s time again! Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! A colorful, Cinemascope salute to ignorance, misogyny and Stockholm Syndrome from the Golden Age of movie musicals!
Our story starts with Howard Keel as Adam Pontipee, an ignorant backwoodsman who opens up the movie by sauntering through the tiny Oregon town of Backlotsville, loudly singing that he wants hisself a wife and obnoxiously pointing out the physical flaws of every woman he passes on the street. This is meant to endear us to him.
Then he meets Jane Powell as Milly. She offers him stew, which in 1850 Oregon is a form of foreplay.
Later, over a cow, Adam proposes to her. You see, beef products played a huge part in courtship rituals back then. Inexplicably, the seemingly intelligent Milly accepts his ridiculous offer and decides to marry him right there and ride off into the woods with him.
Then again, Milly is a special girl, given to melodramatic singing in front of poorly painted backdrops.
Oh calm down, we love Jane Powell. Her style of performing is outmoded by a half-century but she had a beautiful voice and a simple, clear, All-American appeal perfectly suited for the genre.
Adam takes Milly back to the homestead (which looks like Green Acres), where she is introduced to his 6 inbred toothless brothers.
Inside their quaint rustic shithole, the brothers, elevated to a sexual frenzy by the mere presence of someone without a penis, work off their frustrations with a rousing fistfight.
Jane has an 1850 version of a feminist moment. “I’ll show those ignorant apes! Why, I’ll clean the SHIT outta this place!”
Yeah, she didn’t exactly think that one through.
When the boys don’t appreciate her hard work, she has her “Color Purple” moment and flips out on them.
Then she tells Adam he ain’t gettin’ none of this any time soon.
The next morning, she tries a new approach. After stealing all their clothes, she stands outside the boys’ room yelling sexual profanities in order to humiliate them.
The foggy, unfocussed minds of these toothless morons can’t handle it and react with fear.
This is the cover to about a thousand gay porn DVDs.
She forces them to walk around the cabin naked and engage in shaving rituals in order to humiliate them and bend them to her will. Adam is apparently off masturbating his frustrations away while all this is going on.
The humiliation and torture continue as the quick-witted girl from town exerts her will over her unsophisticated in-laws.
Finally, the boys are whipped into such a sexual frenzy by her machinations, that they lose whatever cognitive functions they may ever have had and become her slaves totally.
Milly then discovers several hundred boxes of Rit dye in the barn and forces the boys to dress as a walking rainbow flag as they head into town for a barn raising.
The townsmen think they look ridiculous but the ladies (fresh from their own turn in the Rit dye vat) moisten at the sight of these shaved oddities.
The boys, ignorant and overwhelmed, perform like monkeys in order to impress the girls.
In all seriousness, choreographer Michael Kidd had a knack for devising routines for men that were sexy and masculine. His work here is genius because he innately understood that if these characters were dancing in a more standard style, it never would have worked.
Instead he had these rough and tumble manly men characters flip and jump and basically just spew testosterone all over the crowd.
Meanwhile, the girls, desperate to get some real action in a town full of effete jerks, express their approval in their own adorably unsophisticated way.
The townsmen don’t like that much and in short order, the seven Pontipee brothers dispense of every man in the town and accidentally destroy the barn in the process.
When they all started laughing about it we realized: we’re watching a movie about a bunch of major league assholes.
Who wear their pants way too high.
The boys head back to the homestead, horny and frustrated, where they play with their axes.
This is another hot, masculine routine that really is all about their horniness. A masterpiece of subtext.
Did we mention that it was hot?
Adam, fresh from another marathon of masturbation, whips the boys up by questioning their masculinity and singing to them about how kidnapping and threatening to rape women is a great way to meet them.
Adam’s a HUGE asshole.
Milly at least had the good sense to be appalled. She rips Adam a new asshole. Adam decides they need a break and rides off, indicating that his lawyer will be in touch. Milly sends the boys off to the barn and she takes over the house with the girls.
Where they all spend a lot of time standing around in their underwear. What is it with the air in these mountains? Everyone either acts like an asshole or they’re inappropriately sexual all the time.
Julie Newmar, seven feet of sexual fabulosity with a 16-inch waist, can’t take the thin mountain air anymore and succumbs to cabin fever.
The rest of the girls quickly follow suit.
One by one, we watch their sanity crumble as civilization is stripped away from them.
By the time the snow melts, every single person on this homestead is acting like a total asshole.
He kidnapped you and laughed at you, you stupid bitch.
He KIDNAPPED YOU AND LAUGHED AT YOU.
What is WRONG with these girls?
Okay, you know what? You’re all assholes. You deserve each other.
The girls, displaying their new mountain-born sociopathy, lie to their fathers about having a child out of wedlock and trick the townsmen into letting them marry their kidnappers. The townsmen, as disgusted as we are at this point, go through the motions of a shotgun wedding and head off that mountain as soon as they can, cursing their idiotic womenfolk the whole time, their masculinity shattered by a bunch of dancing morons in neon shirts and too-high pants. The End.
Next week: Life is a Cabaret, old chum.