St. Louis 1903. The well-off Smith family has four beautiful daughters, including Esther and little Tootie. 17-year old Esther has fallen in love with the boy next door who has just moved in, John. He however barely notices her at first. The family is shocked when Mr. Smith reveals that he has been transfered to a nice position in New York, which means that the family has to leave St. Louis and the St. Louis Fair. Written by
According to Vincente Minnelli, Judy Garland initially didn't care for the film. When they first started shooting, she was reading her lines in a way that poked fun at the script. At that point Minnelli believed that Garland's co-star Lucille Bremer was doing a better job than she because Bremer understood the role better and delivered every line with utter sincerity. Minnelli took Garland aside and asked her to do the same. "I want you to read your lines as if you mean every word," he advised her. See more »
At the Christmas party Esther is wearing white gloves, but after the party when she is talking with John outside the Smith house she is no longer wearing the gloves and she is not holding them either. See more »
If there was no other reason why Judy Garland married Vincente Minnelli, then this film supplies the reason for how he won her hand. It's a valentine to her talents and, as an example of MGM's gilt-edged manufacture, it's a sold gold entry.
Yes, Tom Drake was a bit wan as Judy's love interest but everyone else in the cast, maybe even including the too-glamorous Lucille Bremer, are just right, especially the inimitable Marjorie Main. Mary Astor, already deep in the throes of her extended bout with alcoholism as the family's matriarch shows nary a sign of her illness, such was the wizardry of the makeup artists, costumers, hair dressers and the cinematographer. And Judy, too, already addicted to the medications that her tyrannical studio bosses used to keep her nose to a very demanding grindstone, looks as wholesome and lovely as one could wish, particularly in the "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" number.
It's one of those Golden Age classics that always repays a return viewing and its naysayers are in a rather lonely minority, in my opinion.
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