Meeting V.M.

A week from tomorrow (September 4th) the Cinematheque will kick off its nine-film Vincente Minnelli retrospective with his iconic Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), starring Judy Garland, which the great James Agee once described as “a musical that even the deaf should enjoy.” Minnelli is an undisputed giant of classical Hollywood, a status which he self-consciously interrogated in his outstanding industry micro-epic The Bad and the Beautiful (1952; playing at the Cinematheque on September 26th). Here, via the invaluable online film journal Senses of Cinema, is a relatively comprehensive profile of Minnelli, loaded with biographical and textual detail.

As far as Meet Me in St. Louis is concerned, I’m going to defer to Agee once again:

Technicolor has seldom been more affectionately used than in its registrations of the sober mahoganies and tender muslins and benign gaslights of the period. […] To the degree that this exciting little episode fails, it is because the Halloween setup, like the film as a whole, is too sumptuously, calculatedly handsome to be quite mistakable for the truth.

In the above quote we get shades of Andrew Sarris’s claim, made many years afterward, that Minnelli, an alleged auteur, “believes more in beauty than in art.” More to come.

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One Response to “Meeting V.M.”

  1. outPost Says:

    […] CineMadison | Meeting V.M. "A week from tomorrow (September 4th) the Cinematheque will kick off its nine-film Vincente Minnelli retrospective" […]

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