If yesterday’s eight hours of MGM highlights has you itching to watch a full MGM musical—or if you’re just ready to get a jump on Christmas-themed movies—then switch on Turner Classic Movies this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. for Meet Me In St. Louis, director Vincente Minnelli’s 1944 adaptation of Sally Benson’s heartwarming turn-of-the-century “5135 Kensington” stories. Judy Garland plays bright, busy teenager Esther Smith, who over the course of one year courts the boy next door, helps her older siblings find romance, anticipates the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and tries to convince her father not to move the whole Smith family to New York City. Minnelli and screenwriters Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe perform a tricky balancing act with Meet Me In St. Louis, making the problems of the past look quaint while still respecting the Smiths’ very deep and real emotions. That tone is struck precisely in the movie’s best-remembered scene, where a luminously melancholy Garland sings “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” a song that comes across as alternately optimistic or embittered—but always beautiful.
November 26, 2014 newsreel