5 – Meet Me in St Louis – The Guardian’s Top Ten Movie Musicals

Movie Musicals are as popular today as they were back in the twenties when sound was first introduced to cinema.
In December 2013 The Guardian Newspaper published their list of the Top Ten Movie Musicals.
Here is what the Guardian’s critics have to say, what we at Actor Hub think of each choice and some of your thoughts (via Amazon’s reviews).
If you agree or disagree please let us know via Twitter @actorhub.
Read the original article on the Guardian’s website.

#5 Meet Me In St Louis – Top Ten Film Musicals

What The Guardian Said:

Released 69 years ago, on Thanksgiving weekend in November 1944, only six months after the seismic morale-boost that was D-Day, Meet Me in St Louis offered a suddenly more optimistic wartime America the chance to wallow in the sugary comforts of hearth and home, to take refuge in innocence and nostalgia. Can you imagine combat-weary GIs coming off some European or Pacific island battlefield in early 1945, returning to the rear echelon, and seeing this in the camp movie tent? It must have felt like a warm bath and a letter from home.
With its sumptuously vibrant, occasionally ominous Technicolor tones courtesy of George J Folsey (who also shot Million Dollar Mermaid and The Harvey Girls), its American songbook classics, including Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and The Trolley Song, and its evocation of an idyllic, untroubled fin-de-siecle St Louis that surely never existed until Vincente Minnelli dreamed it up, Meet Me in St Louis was the bona fide smash of the 1944-5 box office, and the personal favourite of its legendary producer Arthur Freed, whose musicals unit at MGM was and remains unsurpassed in its utter mastery of the genre.
This is also the movie on which Minnelli met his future wife, Judy Garland, who was initially not enthusiastic about the project. She recanted later, of course, and songs from the book remained staples of her night club act for decades afterwards.
The myriad familiar joys of the movie are etched in America’s folk memory: the perfect parents in the form of Leon Ames and Mary Astor, Judy’s unrequited affection for the boy next door, The Trolley Song sequence with its riot of brightly coloured 1900s gowns and hats. And Margaret O’Brien as 10-year-old Tootie, one of the greatest child performances ever – her hysterical sobbing as she smashes the snowmen in the yard is not soon forgotten. John Patterson

What We Think:

‘Meet Me In St Louis’ is a perfect lazy Sunday movie, all the better if that lazy Sunday is around Christmas and you can have the lights on the tree and snuggle up under a slanket with your significant other and scoff some Celebrations whislt being caught up in the trials and tribulations of the Smith family!
Meet Me In St Louis was one of the first cinematic musical films where the songs were built into the narrative and not just popular hits of the time slotted into the plot. The narrative and plot is pretty paper thin: a father wants to move his family from St Louis to New York, his daughters Lucille Bremner and Judy Garland dont want to go because they have new romances – the father eventually changes his mind …. thats about it!
Judy Garland is sheer perfection in this film, better than in The Wizard of Oz and that’s saying something. Knowing her tragic decline makes the character’s wishing for a happy ending all the more poignant.
The movie is gorgeously shot, the songs are pretty much all corkers, the film is a technicolour treat of yesteryear and is pure escapism.
What really makes this film so wonderful is that it seems to glory in period detail and is a lovingly nostalgic look at turn of the century innocence and optimism. We watch this loving famliy across a year and how they always treat each other with love, loyalty, tolerance and affection. This is something our families today we could use a lesson in, I can’t imagine Judy taking the Smiths on Jeremy Kyle … well, maybe Tootie! ActorHub
Trivia Fans:
  • Judy Garland married director Vicente Minnelli who she met on this movie.
  • Margaret O’Brien (Tootie) was awarded a Special Oscar for Best Child Actor.
  • This film was a box-office smash, grossing more money than any prior MGM release in 20 years – with the exception of Gone with the Wind

What You Think:

The Top Ten Movie Musicals