My mother and I just finished watching Holiday Inn and Meet Me in St. Louis on TV. Holiday Inn is a much-loved film whose shining parts are greater than their slightly commonplace sum: Astaire and Crosby, “Say It With Firecrackers,” and two terrific Irving Berlin songs, “You’re Easy to Dance With” and “Be Careful, It’s My Heart,” that got lost in the looming shadow of “White Christmas.” Meet Me in St. Louis, on the other hand, might just be the most underrated of all the great movie musicals. Sure, it’s a bit heavy on the Hollywood nostalgia, but Judy Garland is at her purest and best, Vincente Minnelli’s direction is unobtrusively right, and the score–the score! Was there ever a movie that contained three songs as fine as “The Boy Next Door,” “The Trolley Song,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”? (Yes, I know, Top Hat, but that film exists in a realm beyond comparison.) Even the orchestrations, by Conrad Salinger, are exquisite.
I enjoyed tonight’s double feature so much that it almost made me forget how irritated I was by a story I read in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal about how red and green are sooooo pass