Filling up the gap in my film history education, as I haven't seen even the most famous and classic movie musicals which everyone else seems to have. This 1944 film by Vincent Minnelli looks to me the most typical and generic of not only musicals but also those movies in which everything ends happily ever after just right at the time of Christmas.
As I said in my post on The Bandwagon, criticising these films feels pointless, and worse, almost like kicking a puppy, however irritatingly cute. Meet me in St Louis makes a case for regionalistic identity and the value of family and community ties - though it doesn't really take this theme of big city vs small town life too far. The songs are all wonderful though there aren't as many I would have liked. I specially loved the "The Boy Next Door" and "The Trolley Song". The title tune is also great, something that will keep you humming long after you have seen it.
Unlike in regular musicals most of the songs are not part of the narrative and they don't forward the plot, on the other hand they halt the narrative by making us aware of the inner feelings and mood of the character, which normal dialogues wouldn't have been able to do. Unlike The Bandwagon this is also much more conventional in visual design - there are no graceful camera movements or dissolves or things like that. It is mostly static with characters just standing and singing.
It is not all happy ending however. There is a little girl who is alarmingly obsessed with death, though ultimately her artificial cuteness offsets any dramatic import that those scenes might have had. There is however one scene in which she "kills" her ice statues after realizing that she wouldn't be able to take them with her when she leaves St. Louis which is genuinely powerful. Overall a good wholesome entertainment something I should have seen when I was a kid.