After I had the honor of interviewing Julie Newmar regarding her role as Dorcas in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, I had the honor of interviewing Ruta Lee, who played bride Ruth in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.
1)Ruta, I love your Ruth in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Describe the auditioning process for your role in the film.
I was very young…still in school my 1st dance audition.
I did a little ballet ….a little jazz….but what clinched the audition for me was good old Lithuanian polka!
2)Were you considered for another role in the film? Did you audition for another role? Or did you know going in that you would be auditioning for Ruth?
The director and choreographer decided who was good for what. I was happy to be ANYBODY!
3)What did you think about your character Ruth? Did you like your costumes and wigs?
Who thought??? We all just did whatever was asked of us. Loved Walter Plunkett’s designs….Did not like that he put me in BLUE…my least favorite color. OH well looks good now!!
4)What was it like working with the brilliant Howard Keel and the amazing Jane Powell?
Jane was and remains a darling girl! A far better and sensitive actress than she was ever given credit for! Howard a great “star” was just one of the guys….became a long term friend. I happily spoke at his star on the Walk of Fame ceremony in Palm Springs
5)It looked like a very tight-knit family on the set. Was it? Was there any fighting or jealousy?
There were such laughs and joy every day. Michael Kidd made hard work such fun!
6)Of the other brides, who did you hang out with the most?
Some of the happiest times of my life!
I shared a back-lot location trailer with Julie…happy hours and sweet memories. She is still my dear friend.
But hung out mostly with Rusty….or visited filming on other sound stages.
7)What was your favorite scene that you filmed in the film?
Clearly the “barn raising” one of the best dance sequences ever put on film. By the Way 7 for 7 is one of the TOP HUNDRED films!
8)Did you find the dancing easy or a challenge?
Dancing among some of the best dancers in America was humbling and terrifying….especially when during rehearsal I got dropped from a lift and sprained my ankle…scared I’d be replaced. Learned the moves sitting on a chair…foot in ice.
9)What was the very first scene that you filmed as Ruth? What was the very last scene that you filmed as Ruth?
I don’t remember the 1st…..and the last would have left us all weeping.
10)Were there any challenges during filming? The Avalanche close-ups (stand-ins were used in long shots for Utah location chase scenes) were filmed on the stage at Metro that held Esther Williams pool….it’s all movie magic….an avalanche over Essie’s pool! 7For7 was shot in 2 processes….wide screen and cinemascope …. so every scene had to be shot for wide screen….then reset and shot for cinemascope a lot of technical work.
11)Ruta, tell us about your passion/love for Lithuania. I was born of Lithuanian parents and have always had a great simpatico with that beleaguered nation that was under the Communist boot heel for over 60 yrs. My peasant family was deported to Siberia and all suffered terribly under that Godless system! Our free USA knows very little of what hell Communism/Socialism is.