Last week, 18 Cinema Lane received 75 followers! Before I start this review, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of my followers for making this achievement possible. Without you, my blog would never have received this milestone (especially in this short amount of time). So, like I’ve done in the past, I will now review a film that was released 75 years ago (in 1944). Because I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Meet Me in St. Louis, I’ve chosen this movie to celebrate this accomplishment! When I picked this movie to review, I realized that the only films of Judy Garland’s that I had ever seen were The Wizard of Oz and A Child is Waiting. This gave me a good excuse to not only watch a movie that I had never seen in its entirety, but to also explore Judy’s filmography! Now, let’s finally start this review for Meet Me in St. Louis!
Things I liked about the film:
- The acting: The cast was very talented in Meet Me in St. Louis! To me, the two strongest performers in this film were Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien! Like in The Wizard of Oz and A Child is Waiting, Judy has both the musical and acting talents to carry a significant weight of the film. Judy also has good on-screen chemistry with Tom Drake, who portrays John Truett in the film. Margaret O’Brien’s portrayal of “Tootie” Smith was one of the strongest elements of this film! During the scene where “Tootie” is so upset about moving to New York that she destroys the snowpeople outside, Margaret’s performance was so emotionally powerful. In fact, her performance was so emotionally powerful, that it was an affective way to make the audience feel sorry for the character. Both Judy’s and Margaret’s performance complimented the performances of the other actors as well.
- The music: I really liked the music in this film! The collection of songs was a good balance of light-hearted and emotional material. Judy’s musical performances were a treat to see, as they were all delightful and enjoyable! My favorite musical number in this movie was when Judy and Margaret performed “Under the Bamboo Tree”. This performance was so joyful and added to the light-hearted nature of the film. When it comes to more emotional performances, I really liked Judy’s rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Her version of the song was emotional enough to affectively reflect the mood of what’s going on in the film. It’s sad, as it addresses reflecting on times gone by, and it’s hopeful, as it talks about appreciating the things you have in your life. This assortment of songs made seeing this movie an enjoyable experience!
- The sets: All of the sets in Meet Me in St. Louis were impressive! I’m not sure if the Smith family home is a real-life house or a house built on a studio lot. However, the facility itself was absolutely gorgeous! Everything in this house looked and felt like a home from the early 1900s. I also liked how the ballroom looked in the scene where Esther, Rose, Lon, and Grandpa attend the annual Christmas ball. The way the Christmas tree was placed in the greenroom was so pretty. The Christmas tree’s placement was also a good way to effectively pull off a surprise within the story!
What I didn’t like about the film:
- A weak first segment: From a story-telling perspective, I thought the story during the “Summer 1903” segment was the weakest element of the movie. Within the first twenty minutes, the primary story focused on whether Rose would become engaged via a long-distance telephone call. Because the first few minutes of a film is, usually, reserved for providing exposition, I don’t think Rose’s story was an effective way to start this movie. It is as if the screenwriters expected their audience to automatically care about a character whom they just met. For me, the overall narrative wasn’t interesting until the “Fall 1903” segment began.
- Too many characters: Even though Meet Me in St. Louis had a talented cast, I feel there were too many characters associated with this story. In this movie, the overall narrative seemed to serve only a few of the characters. The individuals that benefited the most from this narrative were Esther, Rose, “Tootie”, John Truett, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The rest of the characters either feel like they’re there for the sake of being there or like they weren’t given enough screen-time.
- The limited presence of the World’s Fair: Throughout this movie, the World’s Fair is referenced by several characters on several different occasions. It’s even mentioned in the opening song, “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis”. However, the World’s Fair itself was only featured within the last twenty minutes. Even in those few moments, the World’s Fair isn’t incorporated into the story enough to make me, as an audience member, feel satisfied. If anything, the World’s Fair in Meet Me in St. Louis was just a glorified extra.
My overall impression:
Meet Me in St. Louis is a good film! The music is entertaining and the story is interesting enough to keep the audience invested. As I mentioned in my review, the acting is what helped keep this movie going. While Judy and Margaret were the two strongest performers in this movie, the rest of the cast was also talented. Yes, this film did have its flaws. However, there was a good amount of content that made the experience of watching this movie enjoyable. I’m glad I chose this movie to review for my 75 follower dedication post because it allows me to explore the filmography of both Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien! It also gave me a good excuse to watch a film that I had never seen in its entirety.
Overall score: 7.5-7.6 out of 10
What are your thoughts on my review? Are you looking forward to seeing which movies I review in future blog follower dedication posts? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!