VERSUS THE SCARECROW EPISODE 6:BACK 2 THA HOOD. I decided to challenge myself and really open the doors of my film knowledge and take on “The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide”. It’s 808 pages of movies and movie reviews from some of the most knowledgeable movie people you don’t know. It’s a book put together by a staff that praises, and destroys, some of our favorites and not so favorites. You can read the rest of my series here.
Just a quick refresher: each episode, I’m going to tackle three films from three different categories. Two films will be films I’ve never seen before and one will be one I’ve seen before or own. For the new films, well, new to me, I’m going to review them like a typical FTS review using the TOAST Rating system. But, for the films I’ve seen, I’m going give a quick paragraph or two about why I like or don’t like the film. We’ll try to include the poster and trailer for each film. “….and here. We. Go!”
In this episode, I’ll be taking a look at films that share one thing, amongst potential others, in common: The name of their setting/location is in the title. Although I had many to choose from, I’ll be looking at the Judy Garland classic Meet Me in St. Louis, the black and white film noir classic Kansas City Confidential and the silent film masterpiece Metropolis.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) Directed by Vincente Minnelli. Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien and Mary Astor. IMDB says: ”In the year before the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.”
Meet Me In St. Louis is a timeless and delightful classic that makes I didn’t watch it earlier. It’s the story of a family living in the earlier 1900’s in St. Louis. The World’s Fair is in town and everyone is excited. The family gets exciting news that they’ll be moving to New York City, but not everyone is excited, and the family soon begins to realize what they’ll miss most about the town and their friends. It’s a film that’s part love letter and all musical. The plot is strong and realistic (well, as realistic as you can get for the 40’s) as the musical numbers weave through them to not only give your reprieve from the story but also help to further it along. Most musicals in that time had numbers focused on elements not related to the story which often times lead to a drag in pace or shift in tone that was undesirable. Meet Me In St. Louis, while it has pieces that don’t deal with the plot (I’m looking at you Trolley Song, but it’s okay, because you’re my favorite) it adds to the film without changing what it’s already built upon.
The performances are solid from a cast you’ve probably never heard of: Margaret O’brien, Mary Astor, Leon ames, Harry Davenport, June Lockhart, Chill Wills, and a little known actress named Judy Garland. The film focuses mainly on her actions, reactions, and decisions based on the news of the family planning to leave St. Louis. She dominates every scene she’s in and controls every musical number she’s sings. Be it The Trolley Song, The Boy Next Store, or the classic Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, you’ll be singing along within seconds and humming the tunes all day long. Rent this film or buy it if you’re a fan of Judy Garland or musicals in general!
Check back tomorrow for my review of Kansas City Confidential and then again on Wednesday for the conclusion of episode six with my thoughts on the 1927 film Metropolis. And if you’re interested in more, you can find the rest of the Versus The Scarecrow series here.