In 1903 the family Smith is preparing for the exciting World Fair which will be held in their beloved St. Louis. But father Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames) shocks everyone by deciding to take a job offer in New York. The whole family is against it, especially daughter Esther (Judy Garland), who hast just started her romance with the boy next door John Truitt (Tom Drake)….
Judy Garland – Esther Smith
Lucille Bremer – Rose Smith
Margeret O’Brien – Tootie Smith
Mary Astor – Ms. Anna Smith
Leon Ames – Mr. Alonzo Smith
Joan Carroll – Agnes Smith
Henry H. Daniels Jr. – Lon Smith Jr.
Tom Drake – John Truett
Marjorie Main – Katie
Harry Davenport – Grandpa
The original trailer:
– The screenplay was based on short stories by writer Sally Benson. Benson wrote these stories based on her own family. In reality she was Tootie. For the film she even gave explicit directions about the decor of her home, down to the last detail.
– Van Johnson was originally cast as John Truitt, but was eventually replaced by Tom Drake
– Judy Garland initially refused to play in Meet Me in St. Louis. The 21 year old had just started playing adult roles and did not want to be cast as a teenager again. But the studio would not budge and cast her as Esther anyway. When she eventually saw the film, she was very pleased with the result and would come to see it as one of her favorites.
– Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland fell in love during filming and got married not long after.
– Judy Garland loved the way she looked in this film so much, saying it was the first time she felt beautiful, that she kept the make-up artist for the rest of her carreer.
– When Meet Me in St. Louis proved to be a succes, MGM wanted to make it a series. The sequel was supossed to be about the Smith family moving to New York, as Sally Benson’s family had in real life, but the film never materialized.
– The Trolley Song scene was shot in a single take.
– Margeret O’Brien (Tootie) was awarded a Special Oscar for Best Child Actor after her performance in the film.
– Meet Me in St. Louis was Gene Kelly’s favorite musical
Best Writing – Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe – 1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Cinematography – George J. Folsey – 1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Music of a Musical Picture – George Stoll – 1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Music, Original Song – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – 1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Meet Me in St. Louis is still seen as one of the best musicals ever made. The idealized world and loving family that Meet Me in St. Louis portrays speaks to many movie and musical fans around the world. Not to mention the songs, that have become beloved classics as well. Mostly notably Have Yourself A Mery Little Christmas, which has become one of the most performed holiday songs and has been recorded by a large number of artists since its release.
Although it did not win any awards, Meet Me in St. Louis was a smash hit upon its release in 1944. It grossed more money than any prior MGM release in 20 years, with the exception of Gone With The Wind. It also secured Judy Garland’s status as a star and growing icon. In 1994 it was selected for preservation in America’s National Film Registry and it is still a beloved classic.