Musical Monday: Meet Me in St. Louis
Oh kittens. We really wanted to get to this one back during the holidays, since most people consider this a holiday film. But dammit, we were too stuck in Project Runway Land to get to it in time.
When it came time to pick a film for our triumphant return to Musical Mondays, we knew it had to be a Judy pic. Since we CAN’T STAND the ones she did with Mickey Rooney and we’re waiting for a special occasion to spring The Wizard of Oz on you, we found ourselves in the musical section of the video store holding this in one hand and A Star is Born in the other. Frankly, we’re not sure we’re up to the latter. We need to exercise those muscles a bit before we take on THAT little extravaganza. So, St. Louis it is. Onward!
Yes, it’s Meet Me in St. Louis! The story of a dysfunctional turn of the century family, complete with proto-slutty teenage daughters, an occasionally non-existent son, a verbally abusive father, a passive-agressive mother, and the smartass maid that everyone puts up with!
Our story starts here in the summer of 1903 in (where else?) St. Louis as matriarch of the Smith family…um…Mrs. Smith, boils corned beef and cabbage with her deserves-to-be-fired domestic, Katie. That kitchen smells like farts. You know it does.
Meanwhile, second daughter Esther (Judy, of course) returns from her job at the ice cream parlour.
Okay, no. Clearly she was playing tennis. In an old munchkin costume.
Oldest daughter Rose arrives shortly thereafter. She’s prissy and judgmental and thinks way too highly of herself. We hate her.
Rose and Esther sit on the front porch and flaunt their fin de siecle titties at the new boy next door…
…John Truitt, who smokes a pipe while he plays a little pocket hockey on the front lawn and ignores them, which of course forces Judy to sing.
Meanwhile, youngest daughter Tootie is riding with the ice man, who we find curiously hot, in a toothless rough trade kind of way.
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Lorenzo HATES Margaret O’Brien in this role, finding her to be way too precocious and annoying and deserving of at least one good slap. That may color our commentary slightly.
Since the clearly homosexual boy next door paid them no attention, the older girls decide to change into their underwear and sing loudly. Makes perfect sense.
Mr. Smith comes home and verbally abuses everyone in his line of fire. Mrs. Smith frets and fusses and generally makes excuses for his deplorable behavior, thereby ensuring that her children will make several therapists quite wealthy in the decades to come.
Dinner at the Smith’s. Mother has spent most of the afternoon drinking herself numb, Rose cries at the sight of food, and Judy acts out by wearing completely ridiculous attention-getting outfits.
Fortunately, a bright spot appears to distract them all from their misery. Rose’s beau from New York calls and the family is all grateful for something to pierce the painful silence.
HELLO! About time we saw a little mancandy, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, her beau, Mr. Warren Sheffield, does not come through with the hoped-for marriage proposal that would lift the whole family out of their dreary misery, so the girls decide to throw a party and invite Mr. Pocket Pool from next door.
Now we want garters for all our mirrors.
Judy once again tries to draw attention to herself by wearing something completely embarrassing. Her occasional brother manages to wrangle an introduction to Hairy Palms. She pretends not to be moist.
Back then, this was what “horny girl with oral skills” meant.
Even though Lorenzo hates her, we have to admit, this number is adorable. The entire party scene is basically several musical numbers with dialogue sprinkled throughout. This clip is long, but worth it just for the “Under the Bamboo Tree” number:
Call us softies if you want, but knowing what we know about Judy’s life, there’s something a little endearing about the way she plays off Margaret O’Brien. You can tell she sees a younger version of herself and there’s a protective, almost maternal air about her here.
Anyway, back to bitchery.
With the party over and the guests long gone, Rose prissily reminds Esther that Mr. Truitt needs to leave, lest his penis accidentally find itself wedged somewhere it shouldn’t be.
To prevent that from happening, Judy sings to him instead.
Later, the rowdy young folk get together to head on out to the partially built World’s Fair ground, which should tell you something about the social opportunities in 1903 St. Louis. After this, they take a tour of the new sewer line and then spend the day staring at paint dry. Fortunately, their grandchildren will someday discover marijuana and aerosol huffing.
Anyway, it’s the song that makes the movie as Judy flips her wig in a sea of vagina hats and gives us the classic Trolley Song:
Fast forward and it’s Halloween night. Rose helps Tootie and occasional sister Agnes with their costumes and sends them on their way.
HALLOWEEN IS COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL AS THE CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED RIOT IN THE STREET!
Was this what Halloween was like in the old days? No wonder people started slipping razor blades into the candy.
Anyway, something happens to Tootie and she winds up bloody and ranting about how Mr. Truitt beat her up. Everyone looks at Judy and silently blames her.
Judy FLIPS THE FUCK OUT and beats the shit out of Ball Juggler. If there was any doubt about his wussiness, getting beat up by JUDY FRIGGING GARLAND pretty much seals the deal.
Later, she finds out that Tootie made the whole thing up and instead got hurt – we’re not kidding here – attempting to derail a trolley car. Judy wants to be mad at her, but she’s just so darn cute that they laugh off her attempt to murder dozens of people and instead give her ice cream. That kid’s a sociopath and her family’s nothing but a bunch of enablers.
Judy goes to apologize to Wimpy Balls but he’s never been so turned on in his life.
Later, Father comes home and, in a typical display of self-centeredness, announces that the whole family is moving to New York.
They are not thrilled.
Flash forward to winter and some real ickiness. Let me see if we’ve got this straight: occasional brother Lon was supposed to take this girl Lucille to the Christmas dance but she’s going with Rose’s obsession, Warren Sheffield. So, since neither of them have dates, he shyly asks his sister to come to the dance and she blushingly accepts like she’s turned on. Then they make out It’s a big pile of ew. Katie the maid is totally hot for this scene.
Y’know, if we’d had a maid growing up, we probably would have had elaborate mink-wearing snowmen too.
It’s the night of the big Christmas dance and the girls enact a visual representation of Judy’s entire tenure at MGM. Sprinkle a couple of pill bottles in the background and the tableau would be complete.
John shows up and tells Judy that he can’t make it to the dance because he didn’t pick up his tuxedo at the tailor’s in time and now it’s closed.
That is the lamest excuse we ever heard. Just tell her you’re gay. Believe us, she won’t mind.
Judy reacts like Judy to the news.
Grandpa is so turned on by the sound of her crying that he asks if he can escort her to the dance. Judy is repulsed, but really wants to wear her new dress. She agrees.
At the dance, the sisters maliciously fill out Lucille’s dance card with every nerd and loser in the room. Let’s get something straight here, bitches. One of you came as your brother’s date and the other one came as your grandfathers. Neither of you have any room to be pulling this mean girl bullshit. Everyone’s laughing at you behind your backs.
Warren shows up with Lucille and before she can get lost in space, she quickly assesses the situation and trades Warren off to Rose so she can make out with occasional brother.
Through gritted teeth and a fake smile, Rose tells Judy to lose the fucking dance card. NOW.
Judy is stuck dancing with every fat guy and pervert in the whole place…
…when Ball Puller shows up in a tuxedo without any explanation.
Just go with it. You don’t need an explanation an hour and 40 minutes into a musical.
Later, he compliments her on her bedazzled babushka and asks her to marry him. Because the family is leaving in a few days, she’s confused and unsure how to answer.
So she goes home and fucks with Tootie’s head a bit just for kicks.
Father looks out the window, sees his youngest decapitating snowpeople in a blind rage and realizes if he takes her to New York, she’ll wind up in an institution within a year.
He announces that they’re staying in St. Louis and …HUGS!
Flash forward to summer and the whole family is at the world’s fair, where vagina hattery reigns supreme and even 5-year-olds are required to wear one.
All’s well that ends well. Judy got the boy next door and she got to stay in St. Louis so she can lose her virginity to him. The nuns do not approve of her vulgar hat.