Michael Kidd initially turned down the project. He had just come off a show on Broadway and wanted a rest. He changed his mind after hearing the score.
Jeff Richards (a former professional baseball player) was one of the two "brothers" not chosen for his dancing ability. The other being Howard Keel, who was an actor/singer.
Jacques d'Amboise had to leave before filming was finished because he was still under contract with the New York City Ballet, so someone filled in for him during the last few days. You can see someone else playing Ephraim in the scene where the brothers are pacing downstairs while Milly is giving birth.
Stanley Donen was producer Jack Cummings' first choice for director from the outset, thanks to his success with On the Town and Singin' in the Rain.
Average Shot Length (ASL) = 12 seconds (CinemaScope version)
Because there was no way of distinguishing between them and the Town Suitors, MGM decided to make all the Pontipee Brothers red-headed.
Director Stanley Donen said that producer Jack Cummings originally planned to use existing American folk songs for the film's musical numbers. After months spent searching in vain for the right music, Donen recalled, the decision was made to commission an original score.
For the brides costumes, designer Walter Plunkett went to the Salvation Army, found old quilts and turned them into dresses.
M-G-M did not have high financial expectations for the film, and chose instead to allocate its resources to Rose Marie and Brigadoon - films that never matched this film's commercial and critical success.
Many of the actor's singing voices were dubbed in this movie: Matt Mattox's singing was dubbed by Bill Lee, Nancy Kilgas's singing was dubbed by Marie Greene, Julie Newmar's singing was dubbed by Betty Allen, two of the brothers had their singing dubbed by Allan Davies and Charlie Parlato, Ruta Lee had her singing dubbed by Betty Noyes, and Betty Carr had her singing dubbed by Norma Zimmer.
MGM considered this a B movie - they had higher aspirations for the more expensive Brigadoon. For this reason, they slashed the budget on "Seven Brothers", forcing Stanley Donen to use painted backdrops instead of location filming.
MGM had waited five years to acquire the rights to Stephen Vincent Benet's short story, as Broadway producer Joshua Logan had optioned the story as a potential stage musical.
On the 2004 DVD commentary, Stanley Donen claims that there were two versions made of the film: one in CinemaScope and another in the standard screen ratio of the day. Each scene shot in CinemaScope had to be re-shot for the standard version. This was out of MGM's concern that not all theatres had the equipment to screen films in CinemaScope. Although the standard version was more expensive than the CinemaScope version, it was never released theatrically. However, it did play on Turner Classic Movies in the late 1990s and is featured as a special feature on the 2004 DVD.
Only four of the brothers were dancers. Russ Tamblyn (Gideon) was an acrobat, and Jeff Richards (Benjamin) was an actor. Benjamin rarely dances in the movie.
Played at the Radio City Music Hall in New York in a slot that was originally intended for Brigadoon.
Rehearsals for the barn-raising sequence took 3 weeks.
Reportedly Howard Keel's personal favorite of his movies.
Scenes for the widescreen version were shot in the morning and, for the normal ratio, in the afternoon.
Shot in only 48 days.
The avalanche was filmed at Corral Creek Canyon, at Sun Valley, Idaho.