Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)

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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

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Cast

Judy Garland
as Esther Smith
Margaret O'Brien
as Tootie Smith
Lucille Bremer
as Rose Smith
Mary Astor
as Mrs. Smith
Leon Ames
as Alonzo Smith
Joan Caroll
as Agnes Smith
Tom Drake
as John Truett
June Lockhart
as Lucille Ballard
Henry H. Daniels Jr.
as Lon Smith Jr.
Chill Wills
as Mr. Neely
Joan Carroll
as Agnes Smith
Hugh Marlowe
as Col. Darby
Robert Sully
as Warren Sheffield
Donald Curtis
as Dr. Terry
Mary Jo Ellis
as Ida Boothby
Ken Wilson
as Quentin
Darryl Hickman
as Johnny Tevis
Leonard Walker
as Conductor
Victor Kilian
as Baggage Man
John Phipps
as Mailman
Sam Harris
as Mr. March
Mayo Newhall
as Mr. Braukoff
Belle Mitchell
as Mrs. Braukoff
Sidney Barnes
as Hugo Borvis
Victor Cox
as Driver
Kenneth Donner
as Clinton Badger
Buddy Gorman
as Clinton Badger
Joe Cobbs
as Clinton Badger
Helen Gilbert
as Girl on Trolley
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Critic Reviews for Meet Me In St. Louis

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (5)

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.

Full Review… | December 15, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | December 3, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

One of the great musicals.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The joys of the film linger with the music and encourage you to savor the true moments of family togetherness.

April 16, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

In the words of one of the gentlemen, it is a ginger-peachy show.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

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)

Full Review… | August 7, 2013
PopMatters

Audience Reviews for Meet Me In St. Louis

½

Really good music but the acting and plot was lacking something .

erika bruhns
erika bruhns

Super Reviewer

Childhood classic that gets better with age.

Lenny Muggsy
Lenny Muggsy

Super Reviewer

A good musical with Garland, it's very sentimental and romantic and dramatic. I liked it, and if you like the combination of musical, romance, and drama, you'll like this movie too.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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