Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Seeing Red!

 (Myself/Gideon, Joe/Ephraim, Bryson/Daniel, Sheldon/Caleb, Andrew/Benjamin, Spencer/Frank, Lara/Milly.)

As I am running around in total chaos this week, I can say that the 1850's have grown on me. I enjoyed doing the sets of Tom Sawyer earlier this year (set in the 1840's) and with Seven Brides the team has had the opportunity to build and authentic log cabin from the studs up. I thought I could present to you some fun facts about the show! The sets are massive and appealing to the eye as usual, and we're sure to have a hit on our hands!

Fun Facts about the 1954 Technicolor Movie- Courtesy of and my own research.

Bold & italicised- indicates chraracter names.
Many of the actor's singing voices were dubbed in this movie: Matt Mattox's (Caleb Pontipee) singing was dubbed by Bill Lee, Nancy Kilgas's (Alice Elcott) singing was dubbed by Marie Greene, Julie Newmar's
(Dorcas Gailen) singing was dubbed by Betty Allen, two of the brothers had their singing dubbed by Allan Davies and Charlie Parlato, Ruta Lee (Ruth Jebson) had her singing dubbed by Betty Noyes, and Betty Carr (Sarah Kine) had her singing dubbed by Norma Zimmer. Only four of the brothers were dancers. Russ Tamblyn (Gideon Pontipee) was an acrobat, and Jeff Richards (Benjamin Pontipee) was an actor. Benjamin rarely dances in the movie. Jeff Richards (a former professional baseball player) was one of the two "brothers" not chosen for his dancing ability. The other being Howard Keel (Adam Pontipee), who was an actor/singer.

MGM considered Seven Brides for Seven Brothers a "B movie" - they had higher aspirations for the more expensive Brigadoon. For this reason, they slashed the budget on "Seven Brothers", forcing Stanley Donen to use painted backdrops instead of location filming. The only "on location" scene shot in the film is that of the avalanche and was filmed at Corral Creek Canyon, at Sun Valley, Idaho.

The movie premiered at the Radio City Music Hall in New York in a slot that was originally intended for Brigadoon.

The censors weren't too happy about the line in the song "Lonesome Polecat" where the brothers lament "A man can't sleep when he sleeps with sheep". By not showing any sheep in the same shot as the brothers, the film-makers were able to get away with it.

Stanley Donen was producer Jack Cummings' first choice for director from the outset, thanks to his success with On the Town and Singin' in the Rain.

Michael Kidd the films choreographer initially turned down the project. He had just come off a show on Broadway and wanted a rest. He changed his mind immediately after hearing the score.

Rehearsals for the barn-raising sequence took 3 weeks.

The entire movie was shot in only 48 days.

Jacques d'Amboise had to leave before filming was finished because he was still under contract with the New York City Ballet, so someone filled in for him during the last few days. You can see someone else playing Ephraim in the scene where the brothers are pacing downstairs while Milly is giving birth.

For the brides costumes, designer Walter Plunkett went to the Salvation Army, found old quilts and turned them into dresses.

Because there was no way of distinguishing between them and the Town Suitors, MGM decided to make all the Pontipee Brothers red-headed.
The working titles of this film were "Sobbin' Women" and "A Bride for Seven Brothers".

The story of the Sabine women referred to in the film came directly from Plutarch's "Life of Romulus".

MGM had waited five years to acquire the rights to Stephen Vincent Benet's short story, as Broadway producer Joshua Logan had optioned the story as a potential stage musical. (Which later became a stage show)

Director Stanley Donen said that producer Jack Cummings originally planned to use existing American folk songs for the film's musical numbers. After months spent searching in vain for the right music, Donen recalled, the decision was made to commission an original score.
M-G-M did not have high financial expectations for the film, and chose instead to allocate its resources to Rose Marie and Brigadoon - films that never matched this film's commercial and critical success.

Wish us break a leg, and keep you're fingers crossed! We open Saturday Nov 5. at the Wichita Theatre.
If'n some of you'd blogger would like to surprise me by being in our audience you can find out all the info here at the Wichita Theatre's Homepage.


1 comment:

Lydia said...

You guys are going to be amazing!!! That is one of my favorite musicals and I am so jealous that I don't get to be there to act in it with you!!
Also, I had no idea Julie Newmar was Dorcas. That makes me a very happy nerd!!