Thursday, June 28, 2012

Weddings in Film ~ Newlywed Life ~ Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

"My Weddings in Film series explores the different stages of getting married as seen through classic movies. The sixth film, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), takes a look at the struggles of newlywed life.

Congratulations on your recent nuptials! Now it's time to enjoy newlywed life. Because newlywed life is full of rainbows and puppies and picnics in the sun. Right? RIGHT?! Well, not really. Not even close. 

Newlywed life differs from couple to couple. Some couples have already had the experience of living together and you've already gone through that phase in which you are learning how to deal with each others quirks and are starting to combine your daily routines together. In fact, for those couples newlywed life after the wedding can be quite a relief because the stress of wedding planning is over and they can settle back into their old routine. For couples who have not lived together and were waiting until after the wedding to do so, newlywed life brings with it a whole bunch of new experiences that they may or may not be ready for.

Let's take a look at Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) has just travelled from his home in the backwoods ("bear country") to town in search for supplies and a wife. 

"Well, I'll trade you for a new plow, two tubs of lard, a barrel of molasses, 25 pounds of chewing tobacco and you wouldn't have a wife under the counter there?"

Bless her beautiful hide...

He's spotted Milly (Jane Powell) taking an axe to some firewood out back of the inn she cooks at. 
He sits down in the inn for a meal to take a good look at Milly and to taste her home cooking. He likes what he sees and likes what he tastes. She likes the look of him too.

And he proposes marriage to her over the back of a cow.

It's only been a few hours since they've met. But he won't be back for another 5 months. He wants her and she wants him and they both want out of their current situation. He wants to put an end to his bachelor days and have a strong hardworking woman to help him keep the household. She wants to have a man all to herself, one she's not afraid to marry and so that she can leave the inn days behind her. Later that evening, after Adam has had a good hot bath and a shave, they marry.

Everything seems to be perfect but when their newlywed life begins Milly discovers a big problem. Adam left out the fact that he's got 6 dirty and hungry brothers, who are seriously lacking in manners, waiting back at the cabin. She was expecting to take care of one big backwoodsman but starts her married life having to take care of 7 instead!

Always back at the inn when I hear all the men yelling and screaming for their dinners, I think how wonderful it would be to cook and care for one man. Just one man. - Milly

Married life is a work in progress and sometimes it's a full-time job. For Milly, newlywed life is a very tough adjustment. In her very short courtship with Adam, she didn't have time to learn what she was really getting into.


What's wonderful about Milly as a character is that she is one tough cookie. It's not long before she's whipped the 6 brothers into shape. They are all shaven, cleaned up and wait to say their prayers before they politely dive into their meals. She even teaches them how to properly court ladies. It's that 7th brother, her new husband Adam, who is a tougher nut to crack.


The disappointment in Milly and Adam's newlywed life stems from two major faults in their courtship: lack of communication and lack of time to get to know each other. Also, Adam knew that if Milly fully understood what it was she was getting into that she may turn him down. In the end, they both had expectations that didn't match the other persons'. But even a misunderstanding like that can be worked on with lots of future communication, patience, understanding, compromise and love. It's a tough road ahead for Milly and Adam. Can they make it work?


  1. For sure Milly's newlywed life wasn't easy! It's great when she chances the brother's manners but I personally don't like when they kidnap their loved ones!
    I hope you don't have to teach six men how to behave after July 7th!

  2. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is my favourite musical of all time, and much of it is because of the interaction between Milly and Adam. And I love the way Milly teaches Adam's brothers about manners and courtship. It's too bad she didn't teach them they you don't get brides by abducting them!


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