The MGM musical SEVEN SWEETHEARTS is notable as one of Kathryn Grayson's
earliest roles. She was 20 when she starred as the youngest of seven daughters of an innkeeper (S.Z. Sakall) in Holland, Michigan
The plot is somewhat reminiscent of the same year's YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER
from Columbia, which starred Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth: a hotel owner who lives in an exotic location has a bevy of beautiful daughters and insists they marry in order of age. SEVEN SWEETHEARTS isn't a classic on the same level as the Astaire film (which among other things boasts an enduring Jerome Kern score), but like so many MGM films of its era, it provides well-crafted family entertainment.
Van Heflin is Grayson's reporter beau. Her sisters are played by Marsha Hunt (a comedic turn as the imperious, stagestruck eldest sister), Cecilia Parker, Peggy Moran, Dorothy Morris, Frances Rafferty, and Frances Raeburn.
, who plays a starry-eyed newlywed staying in the hotel, had wed William Powell in 1940; despite a 27-year age difference, they were married for 44 years, until Powell died in 1984.
SEVEN SWEETHEARTS was filmed in black and white. I love B&W movies, but this is one film I think would have really benefited from Technicolor to show off the Dutch costumes and tulips!
A close friend's son attends college
in Holland. It sounds like a wonderful place. The Tulip Time
festival is immortalized in song in the movie. According to IMDb, the film was exhibited in some locations under the title TULIP TIME. Unfortunately, the movie appears to have been filmed entirely on the backlot, but it's a nice tribute to Holland nonetheless.
The movie runs 98 minutes and was directed by Frank Borzage
. It's not available on either VHS or DVD but is part of the Turner Classic Movies
TCM has the film's trailer here
: Today I dug out the November 2005 issue of Classic Images
, which has a wonderful article on one of the title "Sweethearts," Frances Rafferty, including a number of stills from the film. The article includes the most interesting information that Frances Raeburn, who plays another of the sisters, is Kathryn Grayson's real-life sister, and Michael Butler, who plays one of the sisters' boyfriends, is Grayson's brother. Raeburn appeared in four other films in her brief career, while Butler appeared in just one other movie.
This film is now available from the Warner Archive