State Fair (1945)




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Twentieth Century-Fox couldn't make a film version of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's Oklahoma in 1945--that particular Broadway musical would remain a "hot ticket" until the end of the decade--so the studio did the next best thing by hiring Rodgers & Hammerstein to pen the score for the Technicolorful State Fair. Fox had previously made a non-singing movie of Philip Stong's novel in 1933, with Janet Gaynor and Will Rogers in the leads. The musical remake downplayed the older characters in favor of the younger members of the cast. Set during the annual Iowa State Fair, the story concentrates on the Frakes family: father Charles Winninger, mother Fay Bainter, and grown-up children Jeanne Crain and Dick Haymes. Each has his or her own reason for attending the fair: Winninger intends to win the "prize hog" ribbon, Bainter hopes to defeat her longtime snooty rival in the food contest (she wins when the judges get schnockered on the alcohol in her entry), Crain falls in love with fast-talking journalist Dana Andrews, and Haymes woos footloose and fancy-free vocalist Vivian Blaine. Musical highlights include the Oscar-winning "It Might as Well be Spring," "It's a Grand Night for Singing," and the title number. To avoid confusion with the 1962 remake, the 1945 State Fair was for many years retitled It Happened One Summer for TV showings. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Classics , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox

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Jeanne Crain
as Margy Frake
Dana Andrews
as Pat Gilberg
Dick Haymes
as Wayne Frake
Vivian Blaine
as Emily Joyce
Charles Winninger
as Abel Frake
Fay Bainter
as Melissa Frake
Donald Meek
as Hippenstahl
Harry Morgan
as Barker
Jane Nigh
as Eleanor
Phil Brown
as Harry Ware
Steve Olsen
as Barker
Josephine Whittell
as Mrs. Metcalfe
Paul Harvey
as Simpson
John Dehner
as Announcer
Will Wright
as Judge
Ralph Sanford
as Police Chief
Almira Sessions
as Farmer's Wive
Virginia Brissac
as Farmer's Wive
Earle Dewey
as Assistant Judge
Wheaton Chambers
as Assistant Judge
Harry Depp
as Secretary to Judge
Francis Ford
as Mr. Martin
Neal Hart
as Farmer
Emory Parnell
as Senator
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Critic Reviews for State Fair

All Critics (5)

Even among dyed-in-the-wool fans of R&H, this one's largely remembered, if remembered at all, as a dud.

Full Review… | February 11, 2007
Film Freak Central

Rodgers and hammerstein's songs are great, but this musical version of the 1933 Will Rogers' vehicle is poorly directed by Walter Wang and poorly acted by Jeanne Crain, whose voice is dubbed by Louanne Hogan.

Full Review… | December 21, 2005

Quote not available.

August 7, 2005
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Quote not available.

April 1, 2005

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September 5, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for State Fair


Our State Fair is the best State Fair in the state. Margy and Wayne are brother and sister and sick of their small town life in the middle of nowhere in Iowa. The annual state fair is in town and that is the biggest stage for excitement they get all year. They go every day of the fair and enjoy the attractions...and find new flames that really peak their interest. They find excuses to leave each other alone at the fair and see if their new flames are true love. "I just lost a pearl necklace but I'm laughing." Walter Lang, director of The King and I, Little Princess, There's No Business Like Show Business, Can-Can, Greenwich Village, Cooney Island, and Cheaper by the Dozen, delivers State Fair. The storyline for this picture is fun but predictable. The script was just okay but the characters were solid and well portrayed. The cast includes Dana Andrews, Jeanne Crain, Donald Meek, Harry Morgan, and Vivian Blaine. "Try to act intelligent." I came across this classic on Netflix some years ago and decided to add it to my wish list as a fan of these old pictures. I thought this movie was well done and I enjoyed the setting (my family, daughter, and I are huge state fair fans). Overall, this probably isn't an all-time classic but is worth viewing once. "The dream in my heart...that's for you." Grade: B-

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

There are legitimately good songs here (even a great one or two), but for the most part it's a little dull as the plot lacks any real conflict.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

The only musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the screen is definitely no OKLAHOMA or SOUTH PACIFIC, but it's colorful and entertaining nevertheless; Score includes "It's a Grand Night for Singing" and the Oscar-winning "It Might As Well Be Spring."

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

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