Meet Me in St. Louis by Sally Benson
Start by marking “Meet Me in St. Louis” as Want to Read: . In the book you get a much clearer sense that, in spite of living in a three-story house with a maid, the. Meet Me in St. Louis is a American musical film made by Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer. Divided into a series of seasonal vignettes, starting with Summer , it relates the story of a year in the life of the Smith family in St. Louis, leading up to the opening of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The family is shocked when Mr. Smith reveals that he has been transfered to a nice position in New York, which means that the family has to leave St. Louis and .
Part of the contemporary 10 star hype surrounding St. Louis may be because it is a clean family movie that mostly fits the bill of Christian fundamentalists, though there is a shocking premarital kiss or two. On the other hand, I feel sorry for those who are so jaded they give it 2 stars.
It's still fun, in a brainless sort of way. By all means, see Meet Me in St. It has an important place in the history of cinema. You will probably enjoy it and hear some fine singing by Judy Garland.
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If you like this type of story, you should watch the Little Women, which stars a slightly older Margaret O'Brien. Or Life with Father, Or I Remember Mama, Or even Cheaper by the Dozen. They are all semi-autobiographical stories of family life, far more interesting and better acted. Robinson and Agnes Moorehead. It is a clean family values film that anyone can enjoy. And for a musical on a similar family theme, see the State Fair not to be confused with the remake.
The Technicolor work is actual much more impressive, though the sound quality is not as good. It is a vastly superior film than St. Louis, which will warm your heart. In the last two minutes, the family finally arrives at the fair.
In this film, Mickey chased Judy rather than the other way around, and she was portrayed not as a teenager deep in puppy love, but as a lovely young woman. Now, after reading the St. Louis script, it appeared as though the studio wanted her to revert back to playing a high school girl with a crush on the boy next door. Judy was dating Joe Mankiewicz at the time, and he was also instrumental in allowing her to see herself as not just a little girl with a big voice, but a desirable woman.
At 22 years of age, Mankiewicz reasoned, Judy Garland had the talent and ability to graduate to more adult roles. And Judy not only agreed with it, but with Mankiewicz in her corner, for the first time she summoned up the strength to actually resist the studio for her own benefit.
Judy went to L. Mayer and complained, and for once he sided with her.
He went to producer Arthur Freed to discuss the matter, but was effectively swayed in the other direction by Freed, director Vincent Minnelli, and most importantly the reigning studio storyteller Lillie Messinger. Once Lillie got a hold of a story, no one was immune.
She was able to effectively point out the charms and magic of the story. Mayer loved a good sentimental "all-American" story and this had everything he loved. Next Judy went to see Minnelli on her own, thinking that she might be able to persuade him, since she was one of MGM's biggest stars, and he was a novice director.
Minnelli had directed only two films before, neither was a big financial success. The best of the two, Cabin In The Sky, although a beautiful film that critics liked, was an all-black film and in that meant a limited audience.
Judy was sure that not only would St. Louis be a mistake but that she could persuade Minnelli that it really wasn't very good! In his memoirs, Minnelli reports what happened when Judy came to see him about the film: She later told me that she'd come to see me thinking I would see it her way.
I see a lot of great things in it. In fact, it's magical. Judy may have been going on an early draft of the screenplay which was, according to most accounts, not very good.
But it was shaped up by the time rehearsals began. And since Mayer switched and sided with Freed, and Freed stood behind Minnelli, Judy had no choice but to acquiesce. Rehearsals began on November 11, and Judy did not exactly throw herself into the role. She was used to the more contemporary, "wise cracking" dialog. When filming began almost a month later on December 7, things weren't much better. In fact, it's reported that when Minnelli was away from the set, Judy would sometimes entertain the cast and crew with a devilishly satire of Minnelli centered around his "perfectionism.
But Minnelli again acted by Judy has other things in mind and suggests the actor try saying his lines with a different inflection. Taken aback, the actor tries it that way. The Minnelli suggests a different way, then another and yet another until finally the bit actor is reduced to tears of frustration and confusion.
This story illustrates how funny Judy could be when she wanted to be her wit is legendary in Hollywood and she was known as the perfect mimic. This could also be seen as her way of dealing with a situation of which she had no control and was not happy about.
Judy had a practically photographic memory when it came to lyrics and script, and she resented Minnelli's constant rehearsals and multiple takes.
Meet Me in St. Louis () - IMDb
Judy usually got her lines and hit her marks perfect the first time. But with Minnelli, not only was he insisting that she rehearse and endure long, multiple takes he didn't like the idea of using the stand-in for much of thisbut he was breaking down her confidence. He was exacting but in a quiet way. Her frustration grew as she began to question her merits as an actress, feeling like she wasn't doing anything right.
She went to Freed to complain, who told her to bide her time and give him a chance. She also reportedly complained to Mary Astor, who flatly said to Judy: Suddenly, under his direction, Judy not only looked more beautiful and vibrant than ever before, but Minnelli was getting a beautifully realized understated performance from her.
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And whatever qualms she had about being a "teenager" or lost in the ensemble were put to rest as well. Soon Judy was entrusting Minnelli with her trust. But that trust came with a price. Judy would be absent from the set of St. Louis for close to 3 weeks. Initially this was due to a lack of interest in the project. But aside from that, Judy was beginning to show signs of the strain that the previous years of overwork, malnutrition, and medications had caused.
She was going through the ups and downs that addicts begin to experience when the drugs begin to take over. Judy was never a morning person, having been raised in a Vaudeville atmosphere of late nights and late mornings. But at MGM, she was expected to be at the studio usually at 5 or 6am. And she had other commitments as well: Radio appearances; Personal appearances for the war effort; and making records for Decca Records.
All of this, added to her fragile psyche and her low self esteem, created a time bomb ticking away just waiting for the time to explode. Mankiewicz saw this and suggested she go to therapy to help solve her deep emotional issues and restore her self worth. She agreed and went.
But when the studio found out, they put a stop to it - not believing that one of their stars was "crazy" the world of psychoanalysis in the 's was still considered suspect and charlatan by nature. In a few short years the studio would find themselves paying for Judy to continue treatment.
Beginning in and ending inJudy Garland changed from a nervous insecure young lady to a glowing, confidant woman in command of her talent and happily exploring and learning all avenues of that talent, then back again to an insecure young lady.
Louis, Kay Thompson and the rest of the legendary "Freed Unit. Arthur Freed had been assembling a platoon of personnel, mostly from Broadway, to populate his little kingdom. These people were bright, young and talented individuals who would change the look and style of the movie musical forever.
For Judy Garland, being in this atmosphere was exciting and exhilarating. She was allowed to flourish and experiment with all aspects of her performing. Minnelli was perfect at this time to help guide her into his world of savvy, articulate and witty people. And she would do some of her best work during this time and was, for the most part, quite happy.
Louis, and although many people thought the union was all wrong, for Judy it was the right man at the right time. At least as far as her career goes. Kay Thompson was a new addition to the Freed Unit, one of the many transplants from Broadway. Kay would take Judy under her wing and develop her singing style even further than her mentor, Roger Edens had.
This would be Judy's closest friendship to any woman in her entire life. Kay had a sophistication and style that was classy, brassy, and highly stylized. The affair with Joe Mankiewicz over he had evidently gone to the studio to argue that Judy needed professional psychiatric help and ended up walking out on his contract because Mayer and Judy's Mom wouldn't listenJudy put all of her energies into St. Louis and her relationship with Minnelli. I still don't know how. Once she grasped the motivation, she was as brilliant in the dramatic scenes as she's been in the musical numbers.
She was alternately wistful and exuberant, but always endearing. Louis and was missing out on her childhood. However, O'Brien herself said in a interview that while she appreciated Garland's concern, this was not the case.
O'Brien loved her time acting, and the child labor laws had been strengthened in the time since Garland had been an underage star. Louis according to Mary Astor. Real tears, an endless flow, with apparently no emotional drain whatsoever.
She was a quiet, almost too-well-behaved child, when her mother was on the set. When Mother was absent, it was another story and she was a pain in the neck. For instance, when shooting a scene at the Smith family dinner table, all of the dishes and utensils had been laid out meticulously.
It would drive him nuts. And remember the strong caste system on the sets: I often wondered what they said to her to get that reaction. I was soon to learn. Louis, tearfully takes a stick to the snow people in the backyard and violently knocks them down. She doesn't want me to work her up for the scene. You'll have to do it. Minnelli eventually told O'Brien what her mother suggested about her dog, and on cue, the tears began to flow on camera. I marvel that Margaret didn't turn out to be one too.
That sort of preparation struck me as most unhealthy. So all my mother would have to say if I had a hard time crying was that maybe she'd better have the makeup man come over and spray the false tears instead of my crying the real tears, and that would upset me terribly, and then I would cry.
Louis, something unexpected and special was happening between Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland: Like everyone else at the studio, I wanted to protect and love her. And Judy was affectionate and loving right back. Soon the two were seeing each other exclusively. Shooting wrapped on Meet Me in St.