MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS: The Essentials
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In turn-of-the-century St. Louis, the close-knit Smith family are swept up in the excitement over the impending arrival of the 1904 World's Fair. The Smiths are a happy well-to-do family whose two oldest daughters are preoccupied with the usual dramas of young love. Seventeen-year-old Esther Smith falls in love with boy-next-door John Truett and tries to get him to notice her. Meanwhile, twenty-year-old Rose is preoccupied with getting her long-distance beau to propose before she is deemed an old maid. Their young sister Tootie is an incorrigible tomboy with a morbid streak who constantly stirs up trouble. When their father announces that he is moving the family to New York, the Smiths must decide if they are willing to give up the bucolic charm of small-town life in St. Louis in exchange for the glamour of the big city.
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Producer: Arthur Freed
Screenplay: Irving Brecher, Fred Finklehoffe
Based on Sally Benson's stories in The New Yorker, published in 1945 as the book Meet Me in St. Louis
Cinematography: George Folsey
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Lemuel Ayers, Jack Martin Smith
Editing: Albert Akst
Music: Roger Edens, Georgie Stoll, Conrad Salinger
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff
Cast: Judy Garland (Esther Smith), Margaret O'Brien ("Tootie" Smith), Mary Astor (Mrs. Anna Smith), Lucille Bremer (Rose Smith), Leon Ames (Mr. Alonzo "Lon" Smith), Tom Drake (John Truett), Marjorie Main (Katie), Harry Davenport (Grandpa), June Lockhart (Lucille Ballard), Henry H. Daniels, Jr. (Lon Smith, Jr.), Joan Carroll (Agnes Smith), Hugh Marlowe (Colonel Darly), Robert Sully (Warren Sheffield), Chill Wills (Mr. Neely), Donald Curtis (Dr. Girard), Mary Jo Ellis (Ida Boothby), Ken Wilson (Quentin), Robert Emmett O'Connor (Motorman), Darryl Hickman (Johnny Tevis), Leonard Walker (Conductor), Victor Kilian (Baggage man), John Phipps (Mailman), Major Sam Harris (Mr. March), Mayo Newhall (Mr. Braukoff), Belle Mitchell (Mrs. Braukoff), Sidney Barnes (Hugo Borvis), Myron Tobias (George), Victor Cox (Driver).
C-113m. Closed Captioning. Letterboxed.
Why MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is Essential
With its homespun charm and focus on the family, Meet Me in St. Louis captures the warmth and nostalgia of a bygone era. It is widely considered one of MGM's signature films in terms of its style and look and one of the most popular film musicals ever made.
Meet Me in St. Louis stands out as one of the most outstanding collaborations between director Vincente Minnelli and MGM producer Arthur Freed. It is often credited for launching what became known as the Golden Age of the MGM musical. Its success for MGM ushered in a wave of first-rate musicals from the thriving studio-many of them collaborations between Freed and Minnelli--that lasted until the 1960s.
Although Judy Garland was reluctant to make Meet Me in St. Louis at first, her role as Esther Smith is one of the most luminous film roles of her career and the camera has never better captured her beauty.
Meet Me in St. Louis is the film on which director Vincente Minnelli and star Judy Garland first worked together and fell in love. The pair married in 1945 and made four more films together before splitting up in 1951.
Judy Garland debuted three songs in Meet Me in St. Louis, all of which became popular hits: "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" became one of the most beloved holiday standards of all time and has been recorded by hundreds of musical artists.
Meet Me in St. Louis is the film that solidified Vincente Minnelli's reputation as a superlative director. Minnelli had worked on a couple of films previously for MGM, but Meet Me in St. Louis was his first A-list picture in which his talent was given the chance to shine.
The memorable character of "Tootie" Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis is one of child actress Margaret O'Brien's most famous roles. Her work as a troublemaking tomboy with a morbid streak showcased her astonishing talent and almost stole the movie from her co-star Judy Garland.
by Andrea Passafiume