A couple of weeks ago I went to go see a press viewing of Meet Me in St. Louis with one of my oldest friends S. The BFI are re-releasing Vincent Minnelli’s most well-known film on 16th December and it’s one of those classics that I saw in S’s loft when we were about 11. S has always been a big Judy Garland fan and she told me lots of fascinating bits and pieces after we watched the movie, over a decade after we last saw it together.
I thought, since the movie is so Christmas-sy – with Garland singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ [see vid below], I best relay a couple of these fascinating titbits here…
It was during the filming of Meet Me in St Louis, aged 21, that Garland had a breakdown. The studio had prescribed her sleeping pills, as well as pills to wake her up so they could get lots of movies out of her. At this point she had already been at MGM quite a while and had developed a full-blown addiction. Apparently Minnelli was pushed into marrying her after they begun a love affair as she was so vulnerable.
During the trolley song the sound of a guy in the background saying ‘hiya Judy!’ is audible. Apparently, this take was actually a dress rehearsal but it turned out to be better than the actual, ‘real deal’ take so they disregarded this randomer’s shout-out to Garland and included this version in the end cut. You can still hear it in the film now.
Here Esther Smith (Judy Garland) sings ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ to her sister Tootie. (Margaret O’Brien).