On Christmas Eve, Friday 24th at 5pm we have Vincent Minelli’s Christmas musical film MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1h50mins).
Judy Garland stars in a timeless tale of family, captured with warmth and emotion by director Vincente Minnelli. The enduring popularity of Meet Me in St. Louis comes from a terrific blend of music, romance and humour. Starring Judy Garland, together with Margaret O'Brien (awarded a special Oscar as 1944's outstanding child actress) and Mary Astor, and featuring the musical classics "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis," "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." St. Louis 1903. The well-off Smith family has four beautiful daughters, including Esther and little Tootie. Seventeen-year old Esther has fallen in love with John, the boy next door who has just moved in. He, however, barely notices her at first. The family is shocked when Mr. Smith reveals that he has been transferred to a nice position in New York, which means that the family has to leave St. Louis just before the start of the St. Louis 1904 World's Fair.
‘’The film was a New York Times Critics' Pick: After seeing it at the Astor Theatre, Bosley Crowther called it "a warm and beguiling picturization based on Sally Benson's memoirs of her folks ... The Smiths and their home, in Technicolor, are eyefuls of scenic delight, and the bursting vitality of their living inspires you like vitamin A. Miss Garland is full of gay exuberance as the second sister of the lot and sings, as we said, with a rich voice that grows riper and more expressive in each new film. Her chortling of "The Trolley Song" puts fresh zip into that inescapable tune, and her romantic singing of a sweet one, "The Boy Next Door," is good for mooning folks
Time called it "one of the year's prettiest pictures": "Technicolor has seldom been more affectionately used than in its registrations of the sober mahoganies and tender muslins and benign gaslights of the period. Now & then, too, the film gets well beyond the charm of mere tableau for short flights in the empyrean of genuine domestic poetry. These triumphs are creditable mainly to the intensity and grace of Margaret O'Brien and to the ability of director Minnelli & Co. to get the best out of her." O'Brien drew further praise from Time: " [Her] song and her cakewalk done in a nightgown at a grown-up party, are entrancing acts. Her self-terrified Halloween adventures richly set against firelight, dark streets, and the rusty confabulations of fallen leaves, bring this section of the film very near the first-rate." Writing in The New Yorker, Wolcott Gibbs praised the film as "extremely attractive" and called the dialogue "funny in a sense rather rare in the movies."
In 2005, Richard Schickel included the film on Time.com's ALL-TIME 100 best films, saying: "It had wonderful songs [and] a sweetly unneurotic performance by Judy Garland....Despite its nostalgic charm, Minnelli infused the piece with a dreamy, occasionally surreal, darkness and it remains, for some of us, the greatest of American movie musicals."
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