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MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS ($36) is oftentimes referred to as a cinematic valentine from director Vincente Minnelli to the film’s leading lady Judy Garland. Looking at how meticulously Judy Garland is photographed and how MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is perfectly crafted around her, Minnelli’s infatuation with Garland become rather obvious. Although this collaboration between Minnelli and Garland also ignited a spark that lead to matrimony for the pair, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS was an artistic and commercial success that eventually became one of best loved classic movies of all time. Additionally, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS provided Judy Garland with her most memorable screen role at MGM, next to Dorothy Gale in that enduring classic- THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Garland’s performance in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS as Esther Smith is the perfect combination of maturity and innocence- Garland deftly playing the dramatic moments, the intertwining comedy and the movie’s delightful musical numbers (including The Trolley Song, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Under the Bamboo Tree and The Boy Next Door. Set at the turn of the century in the title city, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS follows the lives of Smith family over the course of a year. While little actually happens to the Smiths during that period of time, a series of seasonal vignettes sets up the impending arrival of the World’s Fair, various romantic entanglements, as well as how the family deals with the news that a job opportunity for the family patriarch will transplant them from their beloved home in St. Louis to New York City. The cast of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS also features Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Leon Ames, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main, Harry Davenport, June Lockhart, Henry H. Daniels Jr., Joan Carroll, Hugh Marlowe and Chill Wills.

Warner Home Video has made MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. As good as MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS looked on DVD, thanks to the ultra-resolution process, the 1080p presentation is far superior. With Warner’s ultra-resolution process employed again, the Blu-ray is so much more magically film-like than its standard definition counterpart. Image sharpness and clarity is beyond anything that has come before, although MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS looks nothing like a modern film, with the semi dewy-eyed qualities of Hollywood glamour cinematography sometimes lending a bit of softness to the image. The warm, sensuous IB Technicolor hues are deliciously rendered with every bit of vibrancy intact, and with even more nuance to the hues than what was evidenced in the DVD edition. Blacks appear inky and pure, while the whites are smooth and silky. Shadow detail never presents at modern levels, but are otherwise excellent for a three-strip Technicolor movie, photographed in such a loving and beautiful fashion. Imperfections in the materials are minor and inconsequential. Grain is noticeable throughout the presentation, but it helps to maintain the highly film-like qualities of the Blu-ray.

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.0 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. For all the visual lushness of the video presentation, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is offered with a wonderful sonic counterpart. The original sonic elements were utilized to create the lossless master, and while nearing the seventy-year mark, the musical recordings display a surprising warmth and clarity. Sure, the track does not sound anything like a modern, all digital recording, but the fidelity of these vintage recordings exceeds all expectations. Additionally, Judy Garland vocals are genuinely well rendered in this presentation; there is even a noticeable difference between her vocals and those of Margaret O'Brien during Under the Bamboo Tree, a difference that has nothing to do with singing ability. Voices are cleanly and distinctly reproduced, plus the dialogue is easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital monaural tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menu gives one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental features, many of which have been ported from the DVD release. Starting things off is An Introduction By Liza Minnelli, who spends five minutes talking about the film that brought her parents together. Next up, we have a running Audio Commentary track by Judy Garland biographer John Fricke, as well as additional comments from actresses Margaret O'Brien & June Lockhart, plus composer Hugh Martin, screenwriter Irving Brecher, Barbara Freed-Saltzman. This is an interesting and very detailed track that will appeal to movie buffs and Garland fans. A Music Only Track is also provided. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Meet Me in St. Louis: The Making of an American Classic is a thirty-minute program, which looks at the film’s production through a series of vintage and newer interviews with the participants. Hollywood: The Dream Factory is a fifty-minute profile of MGM Studios and its stars that is narrated by Dick Cavett. Hosted by Robert Osborne, Becoming Attractions: Judy Garland is a forty-six minute program from Turner Classic Movies that interweaves thirteen of the actress’s movie trailers with biographical information on her life and career. From 1966, is the pilot episode of a short-lived TV version of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. Bubbles is a 1930 Vitaphone short that features one of the earliest of Judy Garland’s film performances (as one of The Three Gumm Sisters). Songwriter Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane are featured in Skip To My Lou, 1941 "Soundie" in which they perform as part of a quartet called The Martins. The Audio Vault provides the Garland’s rendition of cut musical number Boys And Girls Like You And Me, as well as the Lux Radio Theater broadcast of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS from December 1946. MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS features book styled packaging that contains thirty-four pages of photos and production notes. MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS also comes with a CD Soundtrack Sampler on a second disc.

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS remains one of the best-loved movie classics of all time. Warner’s Blu-ray presentation is glorious and a must have upgrade for those who own the DVD. Absolutely recommended.


Meet Me in St. Louis [Blu-ray] (1944)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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