Happy Spring, everyone! This is the season which encourages one to stop and smell the flowers and break out into song or dance with the person you have been eyeing all winter. Better yet, figure out if you might be able to take a day off of work to soak in the warm temperatures and sun. Maybe even take a day trip filled with adventure and shenanigans. Well, you may do a few of those things. On a small scale, I look forward to lingering on walks under our neighbor's lilacs and taking in deep breaths.
Sadly, those days are still a bit away (as discussed in Springtime with Tatty Devine), but that does not mean you cannot celebrate spring via cinema until the day the buds begin to open or when taking a day off of work is worth it.
Which brings us to our third installment in the Mad About March Double Feature (themes previously explored include Spring Break and St. Patrick's Day). Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you my Spring-filled line up of: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
You might refer to this movie as the one where the ABC brothers commit multiple kidnappings. At this point, you may be questioning my cinematic tastes, but bear with me, because Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is indeed a Spring film.
The film starts when Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) is in search of a bride (Adam is the oldest brother, the brothers were named alphabetically, in chronological order from Biblical names: Adam, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank - short for Frankincense, and Gideon. Hence, why I call them the ABC brothers). At a tavern he meets Milly (Jane Powell), who actually agrees to marry him after a courtship that lasts a few hours, thinking instead of serving tons of customers at the tavern, she would only be responsible for one man (did I mention, Adam lives with all of his brothers?). You can imagine Milly's surprise when she meets the strapping ginger lads (minus Gideon of course, the youngest and shortest one).
Milly is definitely a "when life gives you lemons" woman. She takes on the task to teach them civilized manners to combat with their "backwoodsman" nature (before hipsters thought it was cool). Her work pays off, when the brothers meet six women at a local barn-raising: Dorcas, Ruth, Martha, Liza, Sarah and Alice. As you can imagine, women are hard to come by in this neck of the woods and the ladies have suitors. Oh yes, all the teachings go out of the window: followed by a town banishment.
Like many, with winter comes resentment, loneliness, and the reading of The Rape of the Sabine Women disguised under the title / song "Sobbin' Women." Hollywood, you amuse me so, because in the 1950s they had to have some morality. Thus it is a kidnapping that takes place (too bad they forgot to kidnap a preacher). Mother Nature even lends a helping hand with an avalanche keeping the villagers at bay throughout winter. Though, on the other side they have Milly and her anger to deal with (even Adam who was part of the raid). All the men, even Adam, are banished from the house.
As you can imagine, there are more songs, a pregnancy, and when Spring arrives with it comes love - or Stockholm Syndrome, depending on how you look at life, and the angry villagers who have been strategizing all winter. Oh yes, Spring plays a critical role in this film. I mean, there is even a song titled Spring, Spring Spring (included in Oh So Fresh). The season has to come for the snow to melt, for the chance of marriage, for the possibility of reconciliation. It is a season with new life, with new possibilities... the warming of the earth. It is a pivotal player in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which makes it the perfect film for welcoming Spring.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Let's face it, most of you are not surprised that for me, Ferris Bueller's Day Off was all about Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), instead of Ferris (Matthew Broderick). Unfortunately, today we are here to discuss Spring and not my fictitious character crushes. It is part of human nature to get a bit of cabin fever during winter. When the first gorgeous day appears, we all long to skip out of our day-to-day duties and escape to the outdoors. To have picnics in the grass, to go on bike rides or hikes, to sit outside at a cafe soaking in the warm sun.
It was a beautiful, sunny, Spring day when Ferris Bueller persuades his best friend Cameron (who is under the weather) and his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) to embrace the day and skip out on their daily high school routine. With Cameron's father's 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder as their getaway wheels, they venture to Chicago to enjoy what many refer to as a perfect day. They visit the Sears Tower, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the restaurant Che Quis, Wrigley Field, and the Art Institute of Chicago. When Cameron is despondent about the day they've had, Ferris counters by crashing the Von Steuben Day Parade and a lip-synched performance of "Danke Schoen" and the Beatles' "Twist and Shout."
Meanwhile, Ferris' sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) and the school's principal, Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) are both out to prove Ferris is a liar. Rooney goes the unhealthy step of breaking into the Bueller home. Jeanie is simply looking to catch her brother in the act of being 100% healthy, which unexpectantly makes her less a villain in the piece when she confronts the trespasser in her home (followed by her connection with a juvenile delinquent, Charlie Sheen).
The perfect Spring day, but spring is a time for the new, whether that is simply flowers or a revelation from fresh air and sunshine. Or maybe, discovering extra milage has been added to your father's mint condition car. Skipping out on daily life does require one to be careful, but again, self-analysis is never a bad thing. Cameron finds himself that day, more so than Ferris or Sloane. Though they all embrace the need to enjoy a perfect spring day as young love should. For Ferris, a repeat skipper of daily duties, it is an adventure, and one he hopes to get away with. He even gives us the best advice on how to enjoy our Spring: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Spring is here, at least the official day of it, if not the warm weather to accompany it. For those still a bit chilly and in the "thaw out" stage, I hope you will embrace the season with these films. Perfect sunny or rainy days are close at hand and, I for one, am happy to welcome all things Spring. Check back next week for the final installment of "Mad About March Double Features."