Meet Me in St. Louis

Meet Me in St. Louis

4.4 14
Director: Vincente Minnelli

Cast: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor

     
 

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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… See more details below

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
One of Hollywood's best movie musicals, the enchanting Vincente Minnelli hit Meet Me in St. Louis sits alongside The Wizard of Oz as one of the greatest Judy Garland films. Made and released in 1944, this tasty slice of Americana tells the story of a well-to-do midwestern family in 1903, secure and happy in their home yet unnerved by the prospect of imminent changes. Garland plays the oldest daughter of screen parents Mary Astor and Leon Ames, with Tom Drake supplying romantic interest and little Margaret O'Brien stealing scenes left and right as the precocious younger daughter. In the best tradition of Hollywood musicals, Minnelli eschews realism entirely; his St. Louis is an art director's dream, spotlessly clean and brightly colored. The same can be said for Garland's home and the costumes worn by her and her family. If early-20th-century American life was in the least bit inconvenient, you'd never know it from this film. But that hardly matters: Minnelli's St. Louis is a wonderful place to inhabit, if only for two hours. And those songs! Tunesmiths Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin wrote "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for the movie, and the score also includes such standards as "The Boy Next Door" and "The Trolley Song." Finally, there's Garland herself: Radiant in Technicolor, young but already a seasoned pro, she is at her very best, long before illness and emotional disturbances sapped her vitality and diminished her beauty. Meet Me in St. Louis long ago took its rightful place among the pantheon of movie musicals, but its equally noteworthy for presenting a legendary star at the peak of her abilities.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Meet Me in St. Louis is a "family values" exercise in traditional Americana, following the life of a midwest family as the World's Fair comes to early 20th century St. Louis. There are songs, family crises, more songs, more crises, and more songs. The highlight of the film is Judy Garland's singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."" Meet Me in St. Louis was the first team-up for Garland and director Vincente Minnelli, whom Garland would go on to marry, producing their daughter Liza Minnelli, though they would divorce six years later, in 1951. Minnelli's talent for handling complex set pieces works well in this film, as does the lively Technicolor cinematography of George Folsey. At least some of the credit should go to songwriter turned producer Arthur Freed for his excellent work in bringing together the proper talent. Freed also doubled as the singing voice of actor Leon Ames. One piece of Hollywood backstage lore -- that this was the film for which the director (Minnelli) resorted to telling a child actress (Margaret O'Brien) that her dog had been run over and killed, in order to get her to cry properly in the next scene to be shot -- has since been denied by O'Brien. The actress recently told Turner Classic Movies' Robert Osborne that her impetus for crying in the scene was hearing (from her mother) that actress Jane Powell wouldn't have any problem drumming up tears. O'Brien - fiercely competitive with Powell -- then wept on camera without any problem. She cried at full volume, and she later received a special Oscar for her performance.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/13/2011
UPC:
0883929221776
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:53:00
Sales rank:
9,656

Special Features

Closed Caption; Introduction by Liza Minnelli; Music-Only Audio Track; 2 Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries, The Making of an American Classic and Hollywood: The Dream Factory; Turner Classic Movies Special Becoming Attractions: Judy Garland; Audio Commentary by Judy Garland Biographer John Fricke with Margaret O'Brien, Composer Hugh Martin, Screenwriter Irving Brecher and Barbara Freed-Saltzman; Vintage Musical Shorts; Photo re-creation of deleted song Boys And Girls Like You And Me; TV Series Pilot Episode Radio Show; Vincente Minnelli Trailer Gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Judy Garland Esther Smith
Margaret O'Brien "Tootie" Smith
Mary Astor Mrs. Anne Smith
Lucille Bremer Rose Smith
Tom Drake John Truett
Marjorie Main Katie the Maid
June Lockhart Lucille Ballard
Leon Ames Mr. Alonzo Smith
Harry Davenport Grandpa Prophater
Henry Daniels Lon Smith, Jr.
Joan Carroll Agnes Smith
Hugh Marlowe Col. Darly
Robert Sully Warren Sheffield
Chill Wills Mr. Neely
Donald Curtis Dr. Terry
Mary Jo Ellis Ida Boothby
Helen Gilbert Girl on Trolley
Buddy Gorman Actor
Sam Harris Mr. March
Darryl Hickman Johnny Tevis
Victor Kilian Baggage Man
Belle Mitchell Mrs. Braukoff
Mayo Newhall Mr. Braukoff
Robert E. O'Connor Conductor
Kenneth Wilson Quentin
Leonard Walker Conductor
Victor Cox Driver

Technical Credits
Vincente Minnelli Director
Albert Akst Editor
Lemuel Ayers Art Director
Ralph Blane Score Composer
Irving Brecher Screenwriter
Fred F. Finklehoffe Screenwriter
George Folsey Cinematographer
Arthur Freed Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Paul Huldschinsky Set Decoration/Design
Hugh Martin Score Composer
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
George Stoll Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Charles Walters Choreography
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Meet Me in St. Louis
1. Credits [1:42]
2. Meet Me in St. Louis [3:08]
3. Men on Their Minds [3:47]
4. The Boy Next Door [3:25]
5. On the Ice Wagon [3:29]
6. Hot and Bothered [2:49]
7. Leisurely Dinner [4:15]
8. Warren Calling [4:14]
9. Too Much Bloom [2:16]
10. Skip to My Lou [3:00]
11. I Was Drunk Last Night [1:28]
12. Under the Bamboo Tree [2:33]
13. Turning the Lights Out [4:49]
14. Over the Bannister [2:44]
15. The Trolley Song [4:56]
16. Halloween Night [3:21]
17. Most Horrible [6:02]
18. Who Hit Tootie? [4:36]
19. Laughable Truth [2:28]
20. Apology Accepted [2:30]
21. Papa's Announcement [4:40]
22. Wrecking Everybody's Life [3:09]
23. You and I [3:34]
24. Elegant But Breathless [5:02]
25. Date Crisis [4:06]
26. Changing Partners [6:29]
27. A Way To Be Together [2:56]
28. How Will Santa Know? [1:30]
29. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas [2:47]
30. Tears in the Snow [2:40]
31. The Nicest Present [4:16]
32. Right Here at the Fair [3:54]

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