Top 5: 1940s Musicals

Cabin in the Sky (Vincente Minnelli, 1943)

  • Why: This film is just so captivating and full of energy. There’s always something going on — no dull moments, ever. Also, two words: Lena Horne! Two more words: Vincente Minnelli!
  • Favorite character: Petunia, portrayed by the amazing Ethel Waters
  • Favorite song: “Honey in the Honeycomb”

Meet Me In St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)

  • Why: There are so many great things about this film. Vincent Minnelli (again), Judy Garland is lovelier than ever, the hilarious Tootie (portrayed by Margaret O’Brien), wonderful songs and technicolor!
  • Favorite character: Esther Smith, portrayed by Judy Garland (though Tootie is a close second)
  • Favorite song: “Under the Bamboo Tree”

The Harvey Girls (George Sidney, 1946)

  • Why: The songs are amazing, and the nice waitresses versus crazy saloon people plot is hilarious. Plus it stars a lot of great people!
  • Favorite character: Em, portrayed by Angela Lansbury
  • Favorite song: “The Train Must Be Fed”

The Pirate (Vincente Minnelli, 1948)

  • Why: This is definitely the most under-appreciated Judy Garland film. People like to give it crap because it bombed at the box office, but it’s so flashy and fun that I can’t help but love it! Plus, the combination of Vincente Minnelli (yes, again), songs by Cole Porter, and Judy Garland starring alongside Gene Kelly makes it a winner in my book.
  • Favorite character: Serafin, portrayed by Gene Kelly
  • Favorite song: “Mack the Black” – Judy’s delivery is just perfect

On the Town (Stanley Donen, 1949)

  • Why: Do I even need to explain this one? Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra sharing the screen! Song and dance! Great characters! New York City!
  • Favorite character: Hildy, portrayed by Betty Garret
  • Favorite song: “Prehistoric Man” or “Come Up to My Place”

2 thoughts on “Top 5: 1940s Musicals

    1. I hadn’t seen it when I made this list, but I finally got the chance recently! On the Town will always be my favorite film that they made together, but Take Me Out to the Ball Game is great, as is Anchors Aweigh. You really can’t go wrong with the Kelly/Sinatra combo.


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