Seven Brides for Seven Rapists?

Currently reading Mary Beard’s hugely enjoyable SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. One of the early surprises to emerge is the connection between between the legendary ‘Rape of the Sabine Women‘ (or ‘Abduction of’ as in Poussin’s representation below), and the musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.


According to Beard:

“[The rape] is a scene that has been reimagined in in all kinds of different ways, and media, throughout history. The 1954 musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers parodies it (in the case, the wives are abducted at an American barn raising).”

Now, I’ve never seen the musical, basically because every time I’ve seen a few minutes of it on TV, it has made me groan loudly and reach for the remote control to rescue me from its sheer cheesiness. Strange to think that the idea of this ‘family favourite’ sprang out of the story of something so dark.

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