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Meet me in St Louis

Vincente Minnelli

Vincente Minnelli’s classic musical is re-released in a new print.
In this transitional folk musical made by some of the industry’s masters, director Vincente Minnelli and producer Arthur Freed fully integrate song and story for the first time. Meet Me in St. Louis is a bittersweet Valentine to turn-of-the-century small-town America, where singing was as natural as breathing. The middle-class Smith family wrestle with their emotions when Father (Leon Ames) gets promoted and they have to face up to an uncertain future in a villainous New York cityojust when St. Louis gets to host the World’s Fair. The innovative approach of telling the story over the four seasons lends this truly sentimental tale an effervescence that belies its propagandist purpose for World War Two audiences.
Standing out in the cast is the brilliant Judy Garland, who looks really beautiful here as directed by her future husband. For once, Margaret O’Brien (who won as special Oscar playing Garland’s little sister Tootie) is tolerable, expressing the real fear and anger of childhood in two brilliantly spooky scenes which reveal that beneath the cosy small-town veneer lies a groundswell of neurosis. ‘The Trolley Song’, ‘The Boy Next Door’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ are just some of the classics numbers performed from the great American songbook. With beautiful cinematography by George Folsey and peerless art direction by Cedric Gibbons, this was MGM’s biggest grossing film of its time, and now assumes the mantle of unimpeachable masterpiece. Truly, there’s no place like home.
U.S.A., 1944. Colour. 113 mins.)

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