Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 1hr 48m
Alongside It’s a Wonderful Life, The Odyssey presents an equally heart-warming celebration of a vintage American family at Christmas, in the form of the seminal Judy Garland musical.
Set just after the beginning of the twentieth century, just before industrial development and racial tension inflate considerably, the film focuses on the rapidly growing Smith family and their daughter Esther (Garland). While the city prepares for great change in the form of the World’s Fair, she faces smaller but no less difficult challenges, including the antics of her younger sister (Margaret O’Brien), the arrival of an attractive new neighbour, and, most ominously, the threat of her father moving the entire household to New York, shattering the family’s idyll forever.
Filmed in radiant Technicolor and full of songs that are brilliant even by MGM standards (not least the surprisingly bleak but very moving "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and the kinetic "Trolley Song"), the film is also very well-acted and dramatically involving, giving time and sympathy to all the members of the family even amid the musical spectacle.
Garland’s performance is one of her very best: during its production, she became involved with its director, Vincente Minnelli.