MGM producer Arthur Freed helped usher in a new era of screen musicals with this witty, beautifully written tale of a year in the life of the Smith family. The plot is slight, with the family thrown into an uproar at the prospect of moving to New York, but the real focus is a series of near-perfect scenes depicting the joys and pains of growing up. As daughter Esther, Judy Garland dominates the screen with one of her best acting performances ever, while also introducing what would become three of her signature songs: “The Boy Next Door,” “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Matching her perfectly is Margaret O’Brien, whose depiction of childhood fears was so accurate she captured a special Academy Juvenile Award for her films of 1944. Tying it all together is director Vincente Minnelli. His unerring sense of taste, period and visual expression help make this one of the greatest musicals ever filmed. He also got a special prize for his efforts—he and Garland fell in love and married shortly after completing the picture.
Presented in collaboration with Warner Bros.
Dir. Vincente Minnelli