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
Mary Astor, who had previously played Judy Garland's mother in Listen, Darling (1938), recalled, "Judy was no longer a rotund little giggler, but her growing up was not maturing. "The fun was still there and she seemed to have great energy. But it was intense, driven, tremulous. Anxious. She was working way over the capacities of any human being. She was recording at night and playing in the picture in the day, and people got annoyed when she was late on the set, and when she got jittery and weepy with fatigue. Including myself. I often felt that her behavior during this period was due to bigshotitis and very unprofessional. Making a movie was a communal effort: Everyone depended on everyone else, and for one person to keep 150 other workers sitting around on a sound stage while she fiddled with her lipstick in her dressing room was just plain bad manners." See more »
During the Trolley Song the location of the fair was mentioned as at Huntington Park. The actual location of the World's Fair was Forest Park. See more »
And I'm taking all my dolls, even the dead ones. I'm taking everything.
Of course you are. I'll help you pack them myself. You won't have to leave anything behind. Except your snow people, of course. We'd look pretty silly trying to get them on the train, wouldn't we?
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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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