The year is 1850. Six women are kidnapped to be married to six brothers on a farm estate hidden beyond a snowy mountain path. How will they survive? By singing catchy tunes and falling in love with their kidnappers of course. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is an upbeat musical from 1954 about finding love. If it was made today, it would be an action thriller starring Liam Neeson about “Stockholm Syndrome.” What the movie lacks in guitar solos and blast beats, it makes up for in unconventional dance numbers, radical melodies, and cold hard gender roles.
Adam, the eldest brother whose beard grows in unison with his misogyny, rolls into town looking for a wife. He sings a tune that compares women to cows as he twirls his moustache and croons, “bless your beautiful hide, wherever it may be.” Coincidentally, he finds the girl he’s looking for with her hands wrapped around a cow’s udder. Meet Milly, the plucky young cook who soon prances off with Adam. Little does Milly realize, she has signed up to be a live-in maid and her illusions of married life are as obvious as the painted mountains in the background.
Milly is shocked to meet the brothers in their filthy, monkey-man states. Raised by their brother under the idea that violence deserves violence, a woman’s touch turns them shy and timid like a flock of quails after a shotgun blast. Milly cracks her proverbial whip of three square meals a day and gets the boys showered and shaved. On the outside, the brothers are smooth, but Adam’s long-standing influence blazes through at a riotous barn-raising.
From love potions to self-help videos, the idea that there is a method to finding love is as old as the first case of loneliness. Milly thinks she’s got the antidote for these subdued stallions, it’s a song called, “Goin’ Courtin’” that explains how all girls want to be wooed.
Milly doesn’t make much of an impression though. After a dance where the brothers swing axes like lunatics and harmonize like a gaggle of barbers, they sneak back to town in the dead of night and snatch their beloveds from their homes. Carried like screaming sacks of potatoes, the girls are dragged away to become nothing more than possessions of the backwoodsmen.
Before the snow melts, the girls fall for these pine-needle coated scoundrels. Once the pass is clear, the fathers of the brides-to-be arrive just in time for a shotgun wedding.
Gentlemen: if you want to win over your crush, just throw a bag over their head, assault their current suitor, and yodel majestically. It works in the movies (until 1975)!
Steve is a second-year student of Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program. He spends most of his days dwelling in the depths of a restaurant’s kitchen. When not slaving over a hot stove, Steve can be found hunched over a keyboard, pounding out a review of Germany’s latest post-ambient, country sludge metal band. His incoherent ramblings are graciously hosted on Metalblast(dot)net.