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"Little Women" and "Meet Me in St Louis" – A Discussion of Their Similarities
1949 movie Little Women (set in 1861) and a musical from 1944 Let’s meet in St. Louis (which is set in 1903) and are two popular — and surprisingly similar — films. This article describes some of the many characteristics these films have in common.
Both films revolve around individual families living in the green suburbs of American cities (Concord, Massachusetts and St. Louis, Missouri). Family inside Little Women consists of: father Mr. March (Leon Ames), mother Marmee (Mary Astor) and daughters (in descending order of age) Meg (Janet Leigh), Jo (June Allyson), Amy (Elizabeth Taylor) and Beth (Margaret O’Brien). Family inside Meet me in St. Louis consists of: father Mr. Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames), mother of Mrs. Anna Smith (Mary Astor), son Lon, Jr. (Henry H. Daniels, Jr.), and daughters (in order of age) Rose (Lucille Bremer), Esther (Judy Garland), Agnes (Joan Carroll), and “Tootie” (Margaret O’Brien).
As you may have already noticed, the father, mother and youngest daughter are played by the same actors in both films. Another actor present in both films is Harry Davenport (who appears as Dr. Barnes in Little Women and as “grandfather” in Meet me in St. Louis).
Movies have similar transitions between credits and opening scenes. U Little Women, as an embroidery, a picturesque winter scene of the house of the Marč family and their neighbors is shown. U Meet me in St. Louis, an ornately framed sepia-toned picture of a house in summer and the words “Summer 1903” are shown. Both films begin with these static images fading into real motion footage. U Meet me in St. Louisto help the viewer understand the passage of time, the use of a static seasonal image of the house is repeated every three months until the spring of 1904 – the time of the renowned World’s Fair in St. Louis.
In both films, we see how all but the youngest daughters (Beth, Agnes and Tootie) fall in love. Both Esther (from Meet me in St. Louis) and Jo (and later Amy) (from Little Women) to fall in love with a healthy boy from the neighborhood, who in both cases has just moved to the neighborhood.
Both films involve the Christmas period, and the families in both films have reason to be upset about that Christmas. In case yes Little Women, the family is missing their father, who is away serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. Each of the daughters uses a dollar given to them by Aunt March (Lucile Watson) to buy their mother Christmas presents. On Christmas, the family decides to give away a large portion of the Christmas food to their poor friends. U Let’s meet in St. Louis, the family’s Christmas is saddened by the fact that their father has decided to move to New York right after Christmas. On Christmas Eve, when the father realizes how upset everyone is about his decision, he gives them the biggest Christmas present they could ask for by changing their minds about the move. The Christmas spirit and charming snow scenes featured in both films make for ideal holiday viewing.
Both films seem to have a similar artistic look. For example, they use particularly vivid colors and beautiful sets, which make them very pleasant to watch. They also take full advantage of the large seasonal variations in weather that occur in parts of North America. Both films feature houses with grand staircases and ornate conservatories full of plants. At one point in each film, the two youngest daughters are shown spying on the festivities from behind the staircase railing.
In addition to the fact that the films were made around the same time (1944 and 1949), the above similarities can also be linked to the following credit links. Sally Benson, who wrote the original novel Let’s meet in St. Louis (most of which were previously published as “Kensington Stories” in The New Yorker), wrote the film adaptation for this version of Louise May Alcott’s book Little Women. The films also shared the same decorator (Edwin B. Willis), art team member (Cedric Gibbons), associate (Technicolor), color director (Henri Jaffa), Technicolor consultant (Natalie Kalmus), makeup department member (Jack Dawn), and sound recording director (Douglas Shearer).
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