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The Bible and Pop Culture

Which hit musical from the 1950s featured characters named after people from the Bible?

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). From MGM’s musical heyday, this movie features seven uncouth brothers who were given biblical names in alphabetical order. The oldest son was Adam. Then there was Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank, and Gideon, the youngest. Upon being introduced to the brothers, Jane Powell’s character, Milly, remarks she does not remember anyone named Frank in the Bible. Brother Caleb explains, “There were no ‘F’ names in the Bible, so Ma named him ‘Frankincense’ because he smelled so sweet.”

While the movie is not about the Bible per se, it does contain pointed biblical references. For instance, when Milly works to clean the cabin, do laundry, and prepare a good meal, she becomes appalled when Adam and his brothers continue in their messy, disruptive ways. She thumbs through her Bible looking for solace, and finds Matthew 7:6—“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” That verse sets in motion Milly’s plan to civilize the brothers.


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