Judy Garland, that’s where this post is going.
Meet Me in St. Louis isn’t usually thought of as a Christmas classic. And an ensemble cast wasn’t usually seen during the 1940’s. So a dated execution of these two concepts, which were fully realized generations apart, is a bit hard to swallow in 2011. But here’s where the prerequisite comes to light: Judy Garland sings and introduces “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to the world. As far as Christmas ballads go, that’s a standard. And I swear there’s no better voice to grace the world with those words in that melody. Originally written to a very sad and depressing tone, it was rewritten to fit into the scene at hand. Judy Garland was singing to her upset little sister on Christmas Eve because they were to move to NYC in a few days. (Apparently St. Louis in 1903 trumped New York???) Oh, the original lyrics you ask? Written with WWII soldiers in mind. And from what I’ve read, when it was performed overseas it brought thousands of soldiers to tears.
The movie does feature Judy Garland and her golden voice, but Meet Me in St. Louis is about a family. Over the course of a year we watch them pursue life in an ideal upscale world…with a few musical performances sprinkled in. Nominated for several Academy Awards, including best song (that’s a duh moment), it’s still a great film to watch. I most definitely enjoyed it and suggest it to anyone who has the desire to find a celebrated vintage film. However, it fails to bring those toasty Christmas themes that everyone is looking for in December.
There’s also a lot of history gravitating around this movie. It’s Judy Garland’s first real role playing an adult. And with Director Vincente Minnelli’s inspiration, she was able to break her acting career into a new chapter. And if you haven’t noticed how familiar the name “Minnelli” sounds, it’s because Judy and Vincente married soon after the release and brought Liza Minnelli into the world. And when you read more into Judy’s rough life, you really start to pay attention to how beautiful and talented she was in movies like this. But then again, that’s one of the biggest reasons we love to watch the moving pictures: to escape our real lives.
Enjoy the picture everyone.