Monday, December 11, 2006
Meet Me in Saint Louis (1944) ****
Wow. I was never expecting something that brilliant when I decided to start watching it, but I couldn't take my eyes off. I hadn't heard terrific things about Meet Me in Saint Louis.
The film, sappy as I admit it is, is unlike most musicals in there doesn't seem to be a single musical number that is wasted. It had a terrifically witty and Oscar worthy screenplay and some of the most priceless moments in the history of cinema itself. Gorgeously photographed in vibrant color.
Judy Garland has an excellent voice. Listening her sing "The Trolley Song" or "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is orgasmic, BUT the standout moment was a duet of Mary Astor and Leon Ames.
Wonderful performances by (especially) Harry Davenport and Margaret O'Brien. Garland overacts a little at times.
Vincente Minnelli's direction is what makes this timeless. Take a scene where everyone at the dinner table is so tense they snap to attention when the patriarch bites into a vegetable. You just have to smile your way through this one. Even when the cliches thrum in they manage to leave an emotional impact worthy of study.