I bought and finally watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on Blu-ray tonight. I was very, very pleased with the image quality (opticals still as soft as they always were, and I wasn't expecting anything different) knowing how problematic the Ansco color elements have been for this movie. I found the color nicely managed and more "realistic" than I've ever seen it before. (Previous experiences on video and in the theater had redder, ruddier colors.) Great job!
One thing puzzled me a bit on watching the "making of" documentary on the movie. I've heard here and on several other interviews Stanley Donen and others moan and groan about how their budget was slashed to siphon off money for the Freed Unit's Brigadoon which was expected to be the bigger hit (Seven Brides wasn't a Freed Unit project.) But the final cost of the Seven Brides was $2.6 million according to the documentary. Yet, Hugh Fordin's book on the Freed Unit revealed the cost of Brigadoon as $2.3 million, so it looks to me if the MGM honchos took money from Seven Brides, they were merely evening up the budgets of the two musicals rather than making one film much smaller in size and the other larger. Both were outdoor stories and yet filmed not on location but on soundstages, so IF Brigadoon received some great cash influx from Seven Brides, it wasn't used to go on location to shoot it. I'm beginning to think that budget story may be apocryphal.