Meet Me in St. Louis is a quality musical that is delightful to watch. It stars Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien. The action centers around the Smith family that is about to move to New York from their beloved St. Louis home. It is right before the World’s Fair is to take place, and none of the family are excited about the move.
Little Margaret O’Brien plays the youngest member of the family, a girl named Tootie. She is as adorable as ever. She has a scene that takes place on Halloween that is such a hoot to watch. She gets to play fear and humor both at the same time. Then she has the memorable scene when Garland sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that is tender and sweet, but then leads to an emotional outburst that tears at our heart.
Garland plays the middle daughter who ends up involved in a romance with the boy next door, played by Tom Drake. She is very beautiful and spirited in this movie.
The father in this movie is played by Leon Ames. I always felt like Clifton Webb would have been a natural in the part. I think about him every time I see it. Maybe it is the influence of Cheaper by the Dozen, but this father persona just makes me drift toward Webb anytime I watch it. However, Ames does quite well in his own right.
Mary Astor plays the wife and mother with tremendous sophistication and restraint. She is calm and always in control. In a way, she is the perfect wife of the era with every hair always in its proper place.
Others in the cast include Marjorie Main, Lucille Bremer, June Lockhart, Huge Marlowe, and Chill Wills.
My favorite moment in Meet Me in St. Louis is probably the one where the father realizes home is in St. Louis and cancels the move. It is just a classic moment when he witnesses the upset of little Tootie and then wanders through the house that is in the process of being packed up. It is subtle and priceless.