Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just for David

I've been trying to post my review for the last hour on your blog. Blogger isn't letting me leave any comments. So, here it is. I hope you still count this as an entry.

Meet Me in ST. Louis!

The first thing I have to say about this movie is that I'm sad I hadn't seen it earlier in my life. All those wasted years!!! It is so cleaver and lovely. If movies had relatives, it would be siblings with "It's a Wonderful Life".

The plot is centered around the Smith family. It's just at the turn of the century, picture Disneyland's Main Street, and everyone is abuzz about the World's Fair coming to ST. Louis.

It opens strait away with the tittle song. In the Smith family you have Mom and Dad, Grandpa, the four sisters, the one lone brother, and their housekeeper.

The movie mostly centers on Esther Smith, played by Judy Garland, and her love for the new boy that's moved in next door. It's also mingled with the father's unpopular decision to move the family to New York and how they resolve it.

This movie weaves a rich tapestry of life and family experiences. You get to watch this family for a year. The ups and downs.

This was Judy Garland's breakout roll as an adult. She had her overall look changed as well for this movie. New hair color and new makeup style. Garland was so pleased with the new look, she kept the same stylist for the rest of her career. She was also directed by her first husband, Vincente Minnelli, in this film. You can tell how smitten he was by his star. If you notice solo shots of Garland, he will have her framed as if in a beautiful picture.

Her portrayal of 17 year old Esther Smith was light and effortless. You can't resist her. She is sweet and confident, but there is always an underlying insecurity that Garland can't help but bring with her. It's fascinating to know just what a professional actress she was. Growing up in Vaudeville really conditioned her. In the trolley scene, from start to finish it's one take. ONE. Singing, acting, going through the trolley to find her seat, it is amazing. An interesting fact is she accidentally changed one of the original lyrics to the trolley song. The guy that wrote the song was on set during the filming and noticed the slip in words. He asked that she do it again the right way. The director pulled him aside and let him know that if he were to tell her she made a mistake, they would never get that perfect of a performance out of her again. She would be too self conscious. The director then said, "Sorry, but your lyrics are now changed".

Now, this movie is a musical. Not a traditional one though. The songs they sing in the movie are meant to appear natural and forthcoming. Not staged and produced. They aren't big Hollywood numbers. The songs are very catchy and one has been a Christmas Classic ever since. I'm sure you've heard of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the second little star of this film. She plays little Tootie, Margaret O'Brien. She has been called the best child actor of all time. She is just amazing. I love that Tootie has a little bit of a dark side to her. All of her dolls eventually come down with something and die. Tootie holds beautiful funerals for them and then buries them in the Doll Cemetery in the back yard. She is precocious without being obnoxious.

That's one thing I love about this movie and this movie family. They aren't squeaky clean and perfect. They are normal and have weird quirks like everyone else, but it's not ever ugly and awkward.

You will laugh and you will cry. You will feel full and happy after you've watched this film.

The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Color, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Best Music, Song (Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin for "The Trolley Song") and Best Writing, Screenplay. Margaret O'Brien received an Academy Juvenile Award for her work that year, in which she appeared in several movies along with Meet Me in St. Louis.

The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In 2005, Time.com named it one of the 100 best movies of the last 80 years.

I'm sure this isn't a very well written review. I just love this movie so much and want everyone to see it and love it too. I know there are things I probably left out...so sorry about that. Just do yourself a favor and put it at the top of your movie list.

10 comments:

Jeanette said...

I agree with your review of this movie. It has been years, and you brought back memories.

btw-way more than 100 words. Puts mine to shame.

David said...

i saw it once, or maybe only part of it, years ago on video. i'm definitely going to rent it. i hope the library has it!

i love vincente minnelli. an american in paris, gigi, and lust for life are all favorites of mine. hopefully meet me in st. louis will be too!

David said...

wait a second, didnt the post below used to be titled 'what is georgia pudding?'

David said...

LOL

i just read all the comments from the previous post. You had a couple days of fireworks on here!!

Brooke said...

Wonderful review, Heidi! Much better than mine of New Moon and it makes me want to watch Meet Me in St. Louis again... I haven't seen it since I was a kid!

Mike Brinkerhoff said...

AAACK! DAVID!!!

You CAN NOT SAY "GEORGIA PUDDING" on Heidi's blog!! Oh man... I hope the pudding police aren't looking...

LKP said...

lol! i have loved this movie ALL OF MY LIFE! seriously one of the best things that i ever got from my grandma was an addiction to this film. its a family tradition (this & white christmas)! out of the blue the other night, daisy started singing "i was drunk last night, dear mother." i just about fell over, cause up until then i had failed to recognize how much this addiction has affected her as well. =)

Lisa said...

Yes....LOVE the new records! They are in amazing condition. David is going to be so jealous when he sees that Beethoven one :)

SuzanSayz said...

Heidi, this was a wonderful review. Do you guys own it or do you get it from netflicks? If you have your own copy send it back with Jeff next Sunday and I promise to watch it.
Mike, thanks for looking out for David there. We don't want the "Pudding" war to further escalate now do we?

LaNae said...

So Heidi...when are we going to watch this..your review has made it a priority...call me.