Texan farmers the Frake family head for the Texas State Fair in Dallas. The parents are focused on winning the competitions for livestock and cooking. However, their restless daughter Margy and her brother Wayne meet attractive new love interests.
An ex-husband and wife team star in a musical version of 'The Taming of the Shrew'; off-stage, the production is troublesome with ex-lovers' quarrels and a gangster looking for some money owed to them.
Matchmaker Dolly Levi travels to Yonkers to find a partner for "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder, convincing his niece, his niece's intended, and his two clerks to travel to New York City along the way.
Farm family Frake, with discontented daughter Margy, head for the Iowa State Fair. On the first day, both Margy and brother Wayne meet attractive new flames; so does father's prize hog, Blue Boy. As the fair proceeds, so do the romances; must lovers separate when the fair closes?Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A reprise of the song "Isn't It Kinda Fun" was sung by Dick Haymes as his character takes a shower. The number was cut before the film was released but the footage still survives intact. See more »
During the penultimate scene (the veranda scene), Wayne Frake leaves the house. As he leaves, stepping off the veranda, the camera tracks right, and the shadow of the boom mic appear on the wall of the house as Wayne continues to move off set. See more »
I've no doubt that on the strength of the blockbuster hit that Richard Rodgers&Oscar Hammerstein had with Oklahoma which was still running on Broadway as this film was being made, that Darryl F. Zanuck offered the team the chance to contribute the songs for a remake of State Fair. Oklahoma in fact was a rural setting and so was Iowa for this second telling of the adventures of the Frake family at the Iowa State Fair.
What today's audiences don't appreciate was that in 1946 the Iowa state centennial was being celebrated. Some bright individual at 20th Century Fox must have realized that and a nice musical technicolor remake of the Will Rogers classic State Fair would be a can't miss at the box office. Providing of course Mr. Zanuck could assemble the talent.
Though the 1933 cast boasted people like Louise Dresser, Lew Ayres, and Janet Gaynor in support of Will Rogers, the accent there was very much on Rogers as it was HIS picture. Here the accent is on the younger generation. Charles Winninger and Fay Bainter play the older Frakes taking their prize hog, Bainter's mince pie, and children Dick Haymes and Jeanne Crain to the Iowa State Fair. Haymes and Crain, together with Dana Andrews and Vivian Blaine as the respective romantic partners carry the film here.
Rodgers and Hammerstein had a lot on their plate back in the day. Besides Oklahoma, Hammerstein was involved in creating a musical version of Bizet's Carmen which became Carmen Jones as we all know. He and Rodgers had another musical open in 1945 that was Carousel and became another American classic. When 20th Century Fox signed them for State Fair, according to a recent biography of Dick Rodgers, they never went west. Rodgers did his music from his estate in Connecticut and Hammerstein wrote the lyrics from his Doylestown, Pennsylvania farm. I guess they met in New York and express mailed the songs to Zanuck in Hollywood.
They put together a real nice score, one song It Might As Well Be Spring won the Oscar for Best Original Song from a film. The rest of the score ain't too shabby either with Isn't It Kind of Fun and That's For Me also sung beautifully. My favorite however is It's a Grand Night for Singing, a song so absolutely infectious you will be singing it yourself for days after watching State Fair.
Andrews and Crain were dubbed by other singers, but Dick Haymes and Vivian Blaine were seasoned musical performers. Haymes recorded all four of the songs above in an album for Decca that sold very well. Haymes had a smooth, but strong baritone and if scandal hadn't blown his career up a few years later, who knows to what heights he might have risen.
Every version of State Fair has something to recommend it. There was even a pilot done in the middle Seventies for a television series based on the time honored Frake family saga. For me however this one cops the prize.
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