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
After principal photography was completed, Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland visited NYC during the production process period of the film. Staying at the Plaza Hotel, Vincent and Judy attended the S.M. Berman (author) Broadway comedy, in three acts, "The Pirate". Minnelli's "Meet Me in St. Louis" art director, Lemuel Ayers, recommended the play for Minnelli's future project. "The Pirate", produced by The Theatre Guild, (177 performances) featuring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, with a cast of 38. The play's Scenic Designer was Lemuel Ayers. The play's costume designs were by Miles White, with the costumes executed by Madam Barbara Karinska. Directed and staged by Alfred Lunt, the comedy was performed at the Martin Beck Theatre. Enamored with the comedy, Minnelli called the studio asking MGM to purchase "The Pirate" filming property rights for him, as a follow up project after "Meet Me in St. Louis" was completed. After investigating, the MGM production office responded "we already own it!" Minnelli and Garland repeatedly attended the play's performances during their NYC stay, with Minnelli inscribing sketches and notes of the sets, costumes, and production details. See more »
It is often incorrectly claimed that an off screen male voice calls out "Hiya, Judy" (referring to actress Judy Garland instead of her character, Esther). The voice actually says "Hiya, Johnny". This refers to Tom Drake' s character, John Truett, who has been trying to catch the trolley and apparently just made it. As soon as the line is delivered Esther looks expectantly screen right but we do not see John until the end of the trolley song sequence. See more »
A rare version, dubbed in Spanish, exists, which was issued on VHS in Spain several years ago. This version features the entire soundtrack dubbed, including the songs, and several scenes deleted involving Margaret O'Brien deleted, dealing with Halloween, immediately after "The trolley song". TNT, in Latin America, after prologue dealing about how this film was restored presented it in its complete version but with the Spanish dubbed soundtrack lifted from that old version, which was not restored. For that reason, after "The trolley song" and during several minutes the films plays in English (after Judy Garland "sung" in Spanish) and then the audio reverts back to the dubbed version. Although that dubbed version was available in Spain, some people believe that it was actually produced in Mexico. See more »
One of the greatest movie musicals, and thus one of the greatest American movies, "Meet Me in St. Louis" tells a story that may appear insultingly inconsequential: a happy family living in turn-of-the-century St. Louis considers moving to New York, but decides against it. Yet Vincente Minelli, working with a wonderful cast and unusually intelligent songs, takes this story and makes it the one really convincing screen refutation of Tolstoy's claim that all happy families are alike, and indeed perhaps the only fully rounded and persuasive representation of a happy family in the history of movies. From the small family conflict over the quality of homemade ketchup that begins the movie, to the agony over moving at the end, the Smiths are a collection of distinctive, vibrant and at times almost incompatible characters bound together not only by love but by a contagious, and very particular, sense of fun.
Minelli's genius for musical numbers in interior spaces--most notably the great party in the Smith home near the beginning of the movie--is complemented here by two unforgettable outdoor sequences, Judy Garland's matchless "Trolley Song" and Tootie's Halloween adventure in the neighborhood, where she shows such vulnerability, such courage,and in the end such diabolical lack of conscience that no one can fail to love her. These outdoor scenes protect "Meet in St. Louis" from the claustrophobia that so frequently limits the power of "family" dramas.
Tootie, at five, is the youngest of the five Smith children, and as played by the great child actor Margaret O'Brien, she is also the center of most of the fun. Her relationship with her older sister Esther (Judy Garland) is captivating in its joy, complexity, and ultimately in its sadness. For even though the catastrophe (!) of moving to New York is narrowly avoided, Esther will still leave home for life with the boy next door, and the powerful unity of these lucky people will ultimately give way to other claims of new love, new suffering and new duty. The happiness the Smiths knew while living together will only increase the pain of each parting. We're blessed, though, to have glimpsed their particular brand of happiness at its glorious peak.
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