Everyone who knows me, should know how much I love classic films and musicals. A classic musical film, for me brings a nostalia, happiness and warmth. With how depressing the great British weather has been lately, how nice was it for Film4 to put this magic film on?!
Oh yes I am talking about the Christmas beauty that is ”Meet Me In St. Louis”
Vincente Minnelli’s 1944 musical is sprung with a sweet melancholy that seems to intensify rather than diminish with the years. This romantic portrait of picture-postcard America is dragged up by its nostalgic bootstraps and went platinum at the box office. MMISL is told in a year in the life of a secure, loving family in Missouri at the time of the 1904 St.Louis famous fair. It ignited the careers of Freed and Vincente Minnelli and established the golden age of MGM musicals.
The story is based on the book of the same name from Sally Benson’s memoirs of her life in St. Louis, Missouri from 1903-4 – they were recalled and written in multiple issues of magazine ”The New Yorker” from 1941-1942 (originally published under the title “5135 Kensington” and eventually gathered together as ”The Kensington Stories”).
The Smiths, consist of the long-suffering pa and ma, four daughters, a saucy elder son, a wise cracking but sweet grandpa and a tautly tyrannical maid.
The eldest daughters Rose (Lucille Bremer) and Esther (Judy Garland) are at times in their lives where men are calling. Garland gives a wondeful performance but her limelight is almost stolen by Margret O’Brien who plays the youngest Smith daughter, the devilishly cute Tootie.
The family try and represent what many families are going through during the war. There is the charming and homely incident when elder sister Rose anticipates a proposal of marriage from her hopefully “intended” in New York and has to take the call amidst the whole brood over the goose-necked telephone.
Also the time of Halloween where the children are up to mischief and Tootie almost causes trouble between Esther and her crush John Truitt (Tom Drake)
Structurally, I think the film is a coming of age as different acts represent the seasons from summer 1903 to spring 1904 that conclude in the year of the St. Louis World’s Fair. Each season marks changes and rites of passage – and is introduced by a photo of The Smith family album, and Minnelli cleverly makes each sepia-toned image turns into color and more importantly come to life. Although the Winter season is one of the shortest segment, the film is still considered a favorite Christmas movie. This is largely due to the wondeful rendition of ”Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” sung by Esther to Tootie.
It really is a gorgeous film, and I can only imagine how exciting it must have been in those dayes to enjoy a film in glorious technicolour.
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Leon Ames, Harry Davenport, Marjorie Main
Runtime: 108 mins
Enjoy this infamous scene
Love and Light x