Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

I was looking for must-watch Christmas movies and Meet Me in St. Louis popped out. It was already on my watchlist —I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Birgit over BB Creations talked about it in one of her Thursday Movie Picks post— so I checked it out, and it was a very pleasant surprise —I'm not a fan of musicals, after all. 

Set in early 1900s St. Louis, the film follows Smith family in the months leading up to the city's 1904 World's Fair. The second eldest of the four Smith girls, Esther (Judy Garland), has an endless crush on the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake), who hasn't noticed her yet; the oldest sister, Rose (Lucille Bremer), has a romance with Warren Sheffield (Robert Sully) who is now in New York City; the other two Smith girls, the younger ones, Agnes (Joan Carroll) and Tootie (Margaret O'Brien), engage in shenanigans. The family's dynamics are disrupted when the father, Alonzo (Leon Ames), decides to take a new position in New York City.

As you may have guessed, or already know if you have seen it, Meet Me in St. Louis does not have a plot. It's pretty much a mix of random things, mostly spoiled girls who try to get men who look almost identical to like them. Despite the lack of a plot and some dull moments where I almost lost my interest, the film is overall engaging and quite entertaining.

But it sure isn't because of the characters as, just like the plot, they are nearly non-existent. There are very little characterization and virtually no development. And yet they are easy to relate to and, because of the cast, they are very likeable and lovable.

Judy Garland easily shines in here as it's pretty obvious that the film was entirely written to show off her talents. Anyways, Garland gives a very charming performance as Esther. She brings some complexity into the character and delivers the most touching moments in the film —when she sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to her little sister Tootie she is so touching and heartbreaking. The stand out, however, is Margaret O'Brien who plays Tootie. She gives an excellent performance as she's able to make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Loew's, Inc.
As for the musical numbers, some of them are dull, uninteresting and very forgettable, while some are extremely well done as the songs are very enjoyable and the dancing well choreographed. At last, Meet Me in St. Lous is quite stricking visually. From the technicolor cinematography to set desings to costumes, the film looks beautiful.

Ultimately, this is a flawed film but it's also an entertaining and heartwarming, feel-good one that fits the holiday season very well.


  1. Love this film in all its candy coated innocence. Judy originally fought against doing it feeling that she had steadily been working towards adult roles and with Esther (a very lucky movie name for her what with this and A Star is Born) being a high school student it was a step back. But Mayer prevailed and once she started on the film she recognized that it was worth the risk, plus she met and fell in love with Minnelli, and the picture really cemented her superstardom when it was released.

    As to the songs some don't thrill me either but The Trolley Song is a great whirling dervish of a tune and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (which was written expressly for Judy) is beautiful.

    Margaret O'Brien does a great job with Tootie but the child is a borderline psycho waiting to happen! I was crazy for middle sister Agnes (Joan Carroll) who didn't get as much of the spotlight but was a sketch when she did.

    The girl's suitors really are interchangable but both Leon Ames as Papa Smith and Harry Davenport as Grandpa add much to the film as do Mary Astor as the wise patient mother (it seems incredible that only three years before this she was playing the silky, venomous Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon) and Marjorie Main as the outspoken cook Katie.

    1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is my favourite Christmas song but I found out it was written for the film, specifically for Judy, only after watching the film.

  2. Nice review! Meet Me In St. Louis is easily one of my favorite holiday movies - it's simple, charming, and fun.

    1. Thank you! It really is a nice holiday film.