It’s the last week of my look back through some of my favorite houses from classic movies. This last selection is a house that is part of a movie that has become a staple of my Christmas viewing over the last few years. Yes, it’s Meet Me In St. Louis. While I’m nowhere near thinking about Christmas yet this year (I’m more of a Halloween person myself), I always think of this house when I think of favorite houses from movies I’ve seen. What can I say? I’m a sucker for Victorian homes. And the one in Meet Me In St. Louis remains one of the most charming ones ever committed to film.
Meet Me In St, Louis takes place during the year leading up to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The occupants of the Victorian house are the Smith family. There are daughters Esther (Judy Garland), Tootie (Margaret O’ Brien), Rose (Lucille Bremer), and Agnes (Joan Carroll). In addition there is maid Katie (the wonderful character actress Marjorie Main). The story follows the sisters learning life lessons and coping with an impending move to New York when their father (Leon Ames) gets offered a job there. Oh, and I can’t go this far into discussing Meet Me In St. Louis without mentioning that the mother is played by the underrated Mary Astor. The film was one of the crowning jewels of the MGM musicals of the golden age. It was shot in glorious Technicolor and features great songs, including The Trolley Song, which went on to be a staple of Judy Garland’s singing repertoire.
But back to that Victorian house. It has a stately look to it. But at the same time it feels like a classic Midwestern feel to it. About the only thing missing is a white picket fence. One of my favorite features of the house is the staircase near the entryway. It gives the one in Gone With The Wind a run for its money in the elegance department. The staircase is a focal point for much of the action. And I never tire of the shots of it.
I also love the simplicity of the dining room with its oval table, red and white wallpaper, and the one simple yet charming chandelier. The mahogany fireplace really completes the whole look. This is a very stylish house that never feels showy. Not too many of us can imagine living in, say the sprawling estate in Rebecca. But the house in Meet Me In St. Louis feels so cozy and charming. It’s a house that viewers can aspire to living in. For me, a life goal is finding a house like it to move into.
The last part of the house I want to mention is the bathroom. I love the claw foot tub. And that stained glass window is one of the most gorgeous touches in the whole house. It’s not a huge bathroom. But it has everything you need and it looks fabulous. It’s the perfect relaxation space. And who doesn’t need one of those?
There are houses bigger, fancier, and that draw attention to themselves more in movies. But few have the simple and charming elegance as the Smith’s Victorian house in Meet Me In St. Louis. Every time I watch the movie, I find myself coveting Judy Garland’s outfits and the place the Smith’s call home. Anyone that has seen the movie will understand why.