Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
Sally Benson's short stories about the turn-of-the-century Smith family of St. Louis were tackled by a battalion of MGM screenwriters, who hoped to find a throughline to connect the anecdotal tales. After several false starts (one of which proposed that the eldest Smith daughter be kidnapped and held for ransom), the result was the charming valentine-card musical Meet Me in St. Louis. The plot hinges on the possibility that Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames), the family's banker father, might uproot the Smiths to New York, scuttling his daughter Esther (Judy Garland)'s romance with boy-next-door John Truett (Tom Drake) and causing similar emotional trauma for the rest of the household. In a cast that includes Mary Astor as Ames' wife, Lucille Bremer as another Ames daughter, and Marjorie Main as the housekeeper, the most fascinating character is played by 6-year-old Margaret O'Brien. As kid sister Tootie, O'Brien seems morbidly obsessed with death and murder, burying her dolls, "killing" a neighbor at Halloween (she throws flour in the flustered man's face on a dare), and maniacally bludgeoning her snowmen when Papa announces his plans to move to New York. Margaret O'Brien won a special Oscar for her remarkable performance, prompting Lionel Barrymore to grumble "Two hundred years ago, she would have been burned at the stake!" The songs are a heady combination of period tunes and newly minted numbers by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, the best of which are The Boy Next Door, The Trolley Song, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. As a bonus, Meet Me in St. Louis is lensed in rich Technicolor, shown to best advantage in the climactic scenes at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Meet Me In St. Louis
One of the first films to integrate musical numbers into the plot, it explores, without condescension or simplemindedness, the feelings that drive the family members apart and then bring them back together again.
Garland achieves true stature with her deeply understanding performance, while her sisterly running-mate, Lucille Bremer, likewise makes excellent impact with a well-balanced performance.
The joys of the film linger with the music and encourage you to savor the true moments of family togetherness.
Cut out as a comic relief, [Margaret O'Brien's] Tootie becomes an integral aspect of the film's psychology, as the repressed middle-class anger rearing, if innocently. (PopMatters Essential Film Performances 2013: Musical/Comedy)
The film really belongs to Garland and O'Brien. They make each scene they share pure magic, exuding an effortless confidence which lights up the screen, with the rest of the cast reduced to mere bystanders.
The onscreen blossoming of Judy Garland in Vincente Minnelli's career making hit. Pure heaven.
Minnelli's first triumph and one of Hollwood best musicals, displaying the director's concept of integrated musical with dazzling color and innovative swriling camera movment
Judy Garland's most famous role and her best performance make for entertaining viewing.
One of Hollywood's all-time great musicals ... Judy has rarely been more lovely than she is here.
Audience Reviews for Meet Me In St. Louis
Meet Me In St. Louis represents the big Studio Musical at its best. That said, you either love this kind of thing or not. It's not really my kind of thing but I cannot fault the great music numbers, the big colourful sets and the overall production. The characters are actually very well written although a few performances are a bit two dimensional. It's a wonderful example of the best of cinema in the era though, it is also heaped in Hollywood history, for example without Meet Me In St. Louis there would be no Liza Minnelli. It represents a rich and glorious time in cinema that we are unlikely to see in the same way again, like it or not, it can never be reproduced or matched in either charm or grandeur.More
Meet Me In St. Louis Quotes
- Agnes Smith:
- [singing] Meet Me in St. Louis! Louis!
- Grandpa Prophater:
- [singing] Meet Me in St. Louis! Louis! [bumps into Agnes]
- "Tootie" Smith:
- Wasn't I lucky to be born in my favourite city!
- Esther Smith:
- I can't believe it. Right here where we live -- right here in St. Louis.
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