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THAT'S MY ANSWER
1 March 2014
I've mentioned before, a few times, that one of my favorite sites on line is "That's My Answer," the question and answer site with only a handful of regulars, but which poses a different question or two every day for us to answer and then on the weekend there is a Q&A where a question is posed and then the first person who answers it posts their own question for the next person to answer, and so on. I've been answering those questions for years now, and the regulars have grown into this strange community where basically the only things we know about each other are from our answers to the questions (or from our blogs, if we check out the writings of the others in the group).
The other day the question was posed "What is your favorite movie starting with the letter M." I had to think about it and I checked the answers that had been posted, the first of which was Meet Me In St. Louis, posted by "l'empress," who frequently posts comments in the comment section of the mirror version of this journal, Airy Persiflage.
Well that's a bummer, I thought. Here I had the perfect movie right under my nose and I didn't get it posted in time. I could, of course, have chosen the same movie, but what fun would that be? Instead I picked Miracle on 34th Street, which I love, though it is one of those 40s movies that I loved when I first saw it for the magic in it and now, having become a jaded old lady, I see it for the cheesy shlock that it is...but if I can get in the right mindset, I still do love it.
Later in the day, I checked out l'empress's blog, A Place of My Own, where I saw that she had written an entry based on her That's My Answer answer. She wrote an entire blog entry about Meet Me In St. Louis and never mentioned Judy Garland! I left a comment to that effect on her entry and she answered back that "Seriously, I didn't really notice her the first time around. In my mind, this was a movie about Margaret O'Brien."
Didn't really notice the star of the show?? In fairness she was young at the time and says that her parents took her to see it because of Margaret O'Brien. So I guess she can be forgiven for "not noticing" Judy Garland.
But what she missed! This was Garland's first experience with director Vincente Minnelli and she never looked so beautiful in any movie before (and possibly since).
From the early scene where we see her sitting in the window singing "The Boy Next Door" to the red dress she wore for the ball (red was her favorite color)
To the almost ethereal shots of her singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to Margaret O'Brien, trying to cheer her up.
She never looked more beautiful. Some say that Minnelli was falling in love with her during the filming (he would later marry her and father Liza Minnellli) and that in these gorgeous shots he's making love to her with the camera.
The movie was released in 1944 and was an instant hit, becoming the second highest grossing film, after Gone with the Wind. It is still, today, considered one of her three best performances (the other two being Wizard of Oz and A Star Is Born).
The movie was all about the importance of family and home and released at a time where many young men were serving in the war and nobody knew for sure if they would return to their homes again, it must have been nice to escape into a simpler time, when problems were much smaller.
I often think of the very final scene of the movie...
...with Esther and John standing in the St. Louis World's Fair watching the fireworks and marveling about how other people have come long distances to be there, but they don't have to go a long distance because this wonderful fair is right where they live, right in their own back yard. Whenever I visit San Francisco, especially during some sort of special event, I think how lucky I am, like Esther and John, that I don't have to come from far away to be a part of it, but that it is right in my own home town (even if I now live 80 miles away).
Yeah, Margaret O'Brien was in the film too, but I never paid much attention to her...I was too busy enjoying Judy Garland's performance.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Lizzie, if she had been painted by an Old Dutch Master
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