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Color at the Center: Minnelli's Technicolor Style in "Meet Me in St. Louis"

Scott Higgins
Style
Vol. 32, No. 3, Style in Cinema (Fall 1998), pp. 449-470
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42946443
Page Count: 22
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Color at the Center: Minnelli's Technicolor Style in "Meet Me in St. Louis"
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Abstract

Meet Me in St. Louis, produced by Arthur Freed's musical unit at MGM in 1944, offers an outstanding example of how color could serve the demands of classical filmmaking. The film exhibits an innovative confidence in the way it moves color toward the center of its stylistic system. Under Vincente Minnelli's direction, Technicolor becomes a key contributor to the moment by moment shaping of visual information, making images striking, comprehensible, and affecting. This essay seeks to pinpoint the nature of color inMeetMe in St. Lowwthrough detailed analysis. The essay isolates color's functions and explicates the film's color design against the background of contemporaneous aesthetic trends. By presenting an overview of the film's color strategies and closely analyzing a single sequence, it illustrates how the production largely conforms to conventions of Technicolor design while also elaborating them to make color a particularly forceful element of film style.

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