Seven Brides for Seven Brothers ★★★★★

“Bless your beautiful hide, wherever you may be. We ain't met yet, but I'm a-willing to bet, you're the gal for me...” rings out the clear deep voice of Howard Keel, looking for a wife in the opening number of Stanley Donen’s 1954 musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Set in the 1850s in the Oregon territory, everything about the plot of this film is absolutely bonkers - and probably off-putting to many why-so-serious 2019 sensibilities - but the whole affair is an absolute joy from beginning to end. I’ve always adored this charming story of the Pontipee brothers, seven backwoodsmen who decide to get married, only to kidnap their prospective brides in a mule-headed display of courtship woefully misunderstood, raising the ire of the townspeople and ensuring many mad musical hijinks before the hilarious conclusion. The cast is superb, the songs are catchy, and the show-stopping square dance and barn-raising number is arguably one of the greatest sequences in any musical - period.