Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoff
Judy Garland......as Esther Smith
Mary Astor......as Mrs. Anna Smith
Tom Drake......as John Truett, the dashing neighbor
Margaret O'Brien......as 'Tootie' Smith
Harry Davenport......as Grandpa Prophater
Lucille Bremer......as Rose Smith
June Lockhart......as Lucille Ballard
Marjorie Main......as Katie, the housekeeper
Leon Ames......as Mr. Alonzo Smith
Henry H. Daniels, Jr.......as Alonzo 'Lon' Smith Jr.
Joan Carroll.......as Agnes Smith
Meet me in St. Louis, Louis.
Meet me at the fair.
Don't tell me the lights are shining
Any place but there.
We will dance the hoochie coochie.
I will be your tootsie wootsie
If you will meet me in St. Louis, Louis.
Meet me at the fair.
--by Kerry Mills and Andrew B. Sterling (1904)
Released in 1944, the movie Meet Me in St. Louis is based on the book by Sally Bensen. Bensen's memoirs of her life in Missouri from 1903-1904 were frequently printed in The New Yorker from 1941-42. The original title for the monthly article was "5135 Kensington," which was later compiled and reprinted under "The Kensington Stories."
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) was a landmark among movie musicals. First, it was a period piece set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century. Second, its plot didn't revolve around Broadway or show business or show people, concentrating instead on a typical upper-middle class family. And third, the songs and dances were so well integrated into the plot of the film--yes, a musical with a plot--that they actually advanced the storyline and revealed the personalities of the characters. The characters sang and danced because they felt like it, not because the script called for it, and the atmosphere this creates for the story is beyond anything seen in a musical before.*
Filmed in Techinicolour, Meet Me In St. Louis marked the golden age of musicals for MGM and was the second most successful film for the studio, Gone With the Wind, being the first. It was nominated for four Academy Awards although it didn’t win any Oscars.
- Best Screenplay
- Best Colour Cinematography
- Best Song (“The Trolley Song” by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin)
- Best Scoring of a Musical Picture
Although it was upstaged in the awards by the suspense thriller Gaslight
, young actress Margaret O’Brian was awarded a mini Oscar for being the most outstanding child actress of the year. And the award was well deserved as anyone who’s seen it will surely agree. One of this noder's favorite scenes involves Margaret O’Brian singing a wonderfully silly song that got her character in trouble with her mother:
I was drunk last night dear mother,
I was drunk the night before,
but if you’ll forgive me mother,
I’ll never get drunk anymore!
Meet Me in St. Louis was the first successful role for her after The Wizard of Oz in 1939, and a year after filming it she married director Vincent Minnelli.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
A little known fact about this popular Christmas song, is that it was originally written for Meet Me in St. Louis. The original lyrics to the song were very dark as it was about hoping for better times in the future. However Judy Garland didn't like them so they were rewritten to the popular version sung today and heard for the first time in the movie.
*Reel Classics, http://www.reelclassics.com/Musicals/StLouis/stlouis.htm
E! Online, http://www.eonline.com/Facts/Movies/0,60,11162,00.html