Lunchtime Lectures – ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’: Judy Garland’s 1944 melancholic message of togetherness in two 21st century films

With the University of Chester Running from
Last event: Thursday 8 December 2022 at 12pm
  • Free (drop in)
  • Garret Theatre

Part of: Free activities and events, Christmas at Storyhouse

Presented by Michelle Pretorius

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is one the quintessential songs of the festive season since it first appeared in the classic Hollywood Musical film Meet me in St. Louis in 1944. It has been a staple in every Christmas playlist and in countless Christmas films since its debut. Judy Garland’s rendition of this song is haunting in its intensity and brings the melancholic feelings of this season to the fore and was a symbol of hope and togetherness in a time when many young men were away at war. The repurposing of this song is telling in films in the twenty-first century to convey this same message of hope and togetherness. In this lecture the underlying message and perception of this song will be explored within two particular films, namely The Monuments Men (2014) and The Family Stone (2005). Garland’s stardom and her status as an icon in mid-twentieth century films played a tremendous role in the success and symbolism of this song, giving it particular narrative significance in films such as this.

Michelle is a lecturer, researcher and a performer of musical theatre. As a lecturer, she specialises in the academic study of musical theatre or contextual studies as well as vocal technique and coaching. Her research focuses on musical theatre within the realm of popular culture and celebrity culture’s effect on the field of musical theatre.

Lunchtime Lectures is a collaboration between Storyhouse and the University of Chester, providing an open platform for debate on a range of topics and fascinating subjects.

Our Lunchtime Lectures are videoed and archived for future viewing, by attending you give permission for us to do so – thanks!





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