Sweet little film about a family in St. Louis, Missouri, at the time of the 1904 World’s Fair.
I had never really thought much about this film before. In my mind, I thought it was a twee bit of nothing, but in truth it is rather endearing. It has a few sad moments too, if you think about it the context of it being watched by a female-centered audience in the grip of World War II while their men were away fighting.
The Technicolor is lovely, and sets off the costumes fantastically. The songs are wonderful, and I have a vague memory of my dad singing lots of the songs from this film when I was growing up. It turns out his mother enjoyed the film too, and had records of the songs. Anyway, the songs will doubtless get you tapping your feet at the very least.
Judy Garland is good in the role of Esther Smith, as she and her sister try to catch a husband. Lucille Bremer as Esther’s sister Rose was wonderful. Not only did the Technicolor set off her beautiful red hair, it certainly felt like a true sister bond between her and Garland’s Esther.
This film is purely a piece of escapism and is an enjoyable film to watch. The themes explored are still relevant today and every woman can identify with the universal female struggle of trying to find a man to fall in love with. Many, however, would most likely not be as forceful as Esther in their pursuit of the male species. Perhaps it is a nostalgic look at the past which even at the time of the film’s release, was fading from memory. Men would return from the war, or not return at all. Everyone wanted a bit of escapism.
MY RATING: ***.5 / *****