“Nice night for a coon hunt.”
OK, now that I’m done trying to flirt with the ladies, we’ll get on to my thoughts on the movie Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.
Of course, the film’s plot is well known. Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) comes to town, determined to return home with a wife in tow. He finds Milly, (Jane Powell), who marries him, and sticks with him, even after she arrives and discovers Adam’s brothers (and his views). She then tries to positively influence the brothers, which works except for when Adam disagrees with her. At a barn-raising, the brothers fall for some of the girls from town, but get into trouble when the suitors from town start a fight with them. Feeling like they have no chance, they listen to elder brother Adam and kidnap the girls.
As a whole, I think this movie’s reputation speaks for itself. I know there are aspects to it that really don’t jibe with a lot of things today, and that is understandable. Of course, it is all up to the interpretation of the viewer. For me, personally, this movie is one I have enjoyed watching for many years, and one I definitely would recommend to everybody, as long as they are willing to try it. It’s worth it just for the barn-raising sequence alone! I may not have been watching it as much the last few years, but with my new Blu-ray disc, I will definitely be trying to watch it more often again. Speaking of which…
Now, normally, I don’t want to try and push any one format for viewing. In this instance, I really want people, if they can, to try the newly released Blu-ray, and I’ll tell you at least two reasons why. First, this movies contains two versions of this movie. At the time it was made, the movie studios were trying to find a way to combat the recent menace of television, and get people to go back to the movie theatres. One way they tried to do that was by switching to widescreen movies. MGM decided to film this movie (and several others) in two different aspect ratios, because they weren’t sure whether it was going to be permanent or just a fad like the attempt at 3-D. They had the Cinemascope version (the one we all know and love), and they had an alternate widescreen version (framed in such a way that they could cut off part of the sides), using completely different takes. Of course, by the time the movie came out, Cinemascope had taken off in popularity, and so the alternate version was barely seen, until it was released on laserdisc in the late 90s (and again on DVD as part of a two-disc set around 2005).
The second (and better reason) to try the new blu is the movie’s new RESTORATION. For the most part, popular movies tend to be in rougher shape, but from what I have heard, back in the 70s, the studio decided to blow it up to 70mm. I don’t know whether it was the fact that they did it, or whether it was poorly done, but they REALLY damaged the original camera negative when they did that. So what we have seen, for years, is what they have been able to cobble together from the best sources they had available, which would not have produced a good Blu-ray without EXPENSIVE work. From what I have heard, they found an old print that had been made BEFORE the damage was done to the movie. Warner put a lot of work into it, and that is what they have released on blu. I can tell you right now, the movie looks AMAZING. So much more colorful than what we have seen for a long time. Does the movie look perfect? No, but from what I have heard, whatever problems remain have EVERYTHING to do with how the movie was originally filmed in the first place (after all, technology isn’t always perfect).
I have no idea whether the new transfer is available as a digital copy (possibly through Warner Archive Collection on iTunes), but I know the new transfer is NOT available on DVD. I know not everybody has the ability to watch blu-rays, but if you do (and you enjoy this movie), I VERY MUCH RECOMMEND you try it out! Pricing wise, it is a little expensive (which is to be expected, since Warner Archive is a MOD (manufacture-on-demand) division, which tries to give the same quality as the retail division, while acknowledging that sales will not be as good, so prices are a little higher to help offset that), but this two-disc set is priced the exact same as their one-disc releases, so it is a bargain! As usual, I should mention that both versions of the movie clock out at about one hour, forty minutes.
“I’m a lonesome polecat…”
My Rating: 10/10