Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Family
In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.
Judy Garland was at first reluctant to accept the role of Esther Smith for fear of being typecast as a "girl next door" type, as she had played such a role in many of her previous films. By this point in her career, she had not only been married briefly, she was also a lover of Hollywood nightlife and had briefly dated many of the famous Hollywood playboys of the time, including Artie Shaw, Tyrone Power and Joe Mankiewicz. In real life, she was a far cry from the girl-next-door types she had played onscreen and wanted to be given the glamor treatment received by the other actresses at MGM. With encouragement from director Vincente Minnelli, who did see Garland as she had wanted to be seen for years (beautiful and womanly), make-up artist Dorothy Ponedel worked on Garland and brought out her natural beauty. Garland's eyebrows were modified to a more defined arch, her cheeks highlighted with a subtle blush, her nose discs and dental caps removed. Garland had worn the nose discs and dental caps in all of her previous films; the caps were worn to disguise her crooked teeth, the nose discs to turn up her nose and create a more pronounced profile. "Dottie" Ponedel threw away the discs and caps, telling Garland she was pretty enough not to need them. To create a glamorous effect, while at the same time drawing attention to Garland's full lips and large brown eyes, Ponedel applied a bright red lip color and false lashes, both of which became staples of Garland's signature look from that point onward. During filming, Minnelli used special lighting to display the results of Ponedel's handiwork effectively. Garland was very pleased with the results and even more impressed when she attended a screening of the film and saw herself onscreen, and later stated that working on this film was the first time she had ever felt beautiful. She would continue to work with Ponedel for the rest of her years at MGM.
Mrs. Anna Smith:
Best ketchup we ever made, Katie.
Katie (Maid): Too sweet.
Mrs. Anna Smith: Mr. Smith likes it all the sweet side.
Katie (Maid): All men like it on the sweet side. Too sweet, Mrs. Smith.
As Esther comes down the stairs to the party in the parlor (with John Truett as one of the guests), she passes by the grandfather clock on the landing. In the shot just before coming to the landing, the pendulum is swinging. In the next shot, Esther is on the landing, and the pendulum is stopped.
A rare version, dubbed in Spanish, exists, which was issued on VHS in Spain several years ago. This version features the entire soundtrack dubbed, including the songs, and several scenes deleted involving Margaret O'Brien deleted, dealing with Halloween, immediately after "The trolley song". TNT, in Latin America, after prologue dealing about how this film was restored presented it in its complete version but with the Spanish dubbed soundtrack lifted from that old version, which was not restored. For that reason, after "The trolley song" and during several minutes the films plays in English (after Judy Garland "sung" in Spanish) and then the audio reverts back to the dubbed version. Although that dubbed version was available in Spain, some people believe that it was actually produced in Mexico.