Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), directed by Vincente Minnelli.

A gorgeous fantasy of 1903. The color, sets and costumes are very fine. The cast is appealing and the music catchy, although not much like 1903. This is in the "large and eccentric but loving family" genre. On the down side the plot is slight, but that's a known curse of musicals (with some exceptions: Singin' in the Rain (1952)).

Judy Garland, age 22, was never a great beauty in the traditional sense, but had undeniable appeal: dark shining eyes, cherry lips, and one of the great singing voices of the century. Her comically romantic performance is both innocent and knowing, as if she has it all figured out in theory but is still waiting for practical experience. Her lavishly banged bouffant: it must be a wig.

Margaret O'Brien, age 7, gives a great devil-child performance. I recall a quote about the actress: "Once they would have burned a child like that at the stake." Her Halloween segment in the center of the film is a bizarre interlude.

The film introduced a new Christmas standard, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, one of the more melancholy selections in the songbook. I've been curious about how often new Christmas tunes appear and become widely known and the wikipedia has lists, combinations of sacred music, show tunes and shopping songs.

Good looking Blu-ray. ClassicFlix has it, Netflix doesn't.