meet-me-in-st-louis-dec-13thFrom the signature song Meet me in St Louis to the classic Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas from Judy Garland, Minnelli brings us some pure escapism. The 1944 D-Day landings were the backdrop to this story of a family contemplating a major upheaval and this was clearly a morale raiser. “Combining some wonderful song and dance routines with a cast of memorable characters, Meet me in St Louis is certainly one of the best Hollywood musicals ever. It is also one of the least ostentatious.” Jamie Russell, BBC. (Cert U)
Dir: Vincente Minnelli 108 mins USA 1944

Programme Notes

Meet Me in St. Louis
USA 1944 108mins Cert U

In 1939, rosy-cheeked chanteuse Judy Garland trumpeted the cosy, all-American proverb that “there’s no place like home” in The Wizard of Oz. She returned five years later to re-affirm those beliefs in Vincente Minnelli’s musical masterpiece, Meet Me in St Louis, a Technicolor ode to the joys and tensions of living side-by-side with your fellow man.

In a snow-globe rendering of St Louis, Missouri circa 1903, the affluent Smith clan must face the prospect of ripping up their ancestral roots to chase future fortunes. The film has only a whisper of a plot, preferring to amass the simple
pleasures of life (flirting with neighbours, riding the trolley, Christmas with the folks) into a single romantic vision of a perfect society.

Framed as a sepia-tinted postcard come to life, Minnelli’s panoramic city symphony examines the meanings of nostalgia and memory while offering a sweetly ironic depiction of Middle American conservatism where sex is taboo, dinner is at six, money is evil and father knows best. A heavenly slice of brassy Hollywood romanticism that’ll have you swooning all the way to the trolley stop.

Intelligently forefronted and well paced by director Minelli, are four stand-out musical highlights – Judy Garland’s plaint about The Boy Next Door, the Paul Jones dance routine to the tune of Skip to My Lou, the Yuletide thematic Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and, en route to the Fairgrounds, the ever-memorable Trolley Song.

Acknowledgements: David Jenkins, Time Out London
Anonymous Staffer, Variety

At the time of its release, Meet Me in St. Louis won an award in the USA’s National Board of Review Top Ten Films and, in 1945, received Oscar nominations for Best Colour Cinematography,
Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Song (the Trolley Song)

Esther Smith – Judy Garland
‘Tootie’ Smith – Margaret O’Brien
Mrs Anna Smith – Mary Astor
Rose Smith – Lucille Bremer
Mr Alonzo Smith – Leon Ames

Director – Vincente Minelli
Screenplay – Irving Brecher, Fred F. Finklehoffe
Cinematography – George J. Folsey
Original Music – Roger Edens, Conrad Salinger (no credits)
Producers – Arthur Freed, Roger Edens (RE uncredited)


“Simply gorgeous!”

“Wonderful film that only Hollywood could make. Lovely costumes, total schmaltz – just in time
for Chr ….. !”

“Colourful and vibrant – made a change. Judy Garland was the tops!”

“A real feel-good dose of romance”

“Very stylish – wonderful costumes and colourful filming. A toot-toot for Tootie!”

“We should have more musicals!”

“I don’t normally like musicals but I enjoyed this one.”

“No story, appalling acting but great entertainment – summed up Christmas !!”

“Very entertaining”

“Fun for Christmas, I expect!”


“Has worn very well – except for the hairstyles.”

“Excellent of its type but not my type – sorry!”

“Too much candy-floss!”

“Sloppy, sentimental twaddle”

“This musical could have done with a shorter beginning and an ending that tied things up. The child actors were borderline annoying and the romance was quite syrupy. Good thing that the songs kept it moving, even if you’d heard the title songs three or four times.”

“It was no worse than I expected it to be.”

“Uniformly terrible”

“I loathe all musicals, so I feel I should disqualify myself from comment.”


A:14, B:12, C:5, D:4, E:1 to give 74%