State Fair (1945)
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?
I found “State Fair” to be an enjoyable film to watch. I thought it might be too dated to enjoy but that was not the case. This particular musical, with the talents of Rodgers and Hammerstein, actually has a handful of songs and concentrates instead on the story. Jeanne Crain plays Margy Frake, a young woman who still lives at home with her parents and brother. She has been dating a man named Harry with whom she has little in common. She longs to meet the love of her life, and at the Iowa State Fair does indeed meet Pat Gilbert, newspaper reporter, played by Dana Andrews. The chemistry is there between them immediately and though a well-traveled man, Gilbert soon realizes that Margy is not just another girl.
Margy’s brother Wayne, played by Dick Haymes, has a steady girl who can’t make it to the fair, and he winds up meeting Emily Edwards, a singer, played by Vivian Blaine. They fall madly for each other, only for Wayne to find in the end that she is married. Despite this, this film has been Dove approved because Wayne does not know she is married-he actually learns that her husband is gone and the marriage has been on the rocks for a year. He goes back to his old girlfriend in the end and finds happiness-therefore, the film is approved. Without giving all the endings away, Pat is offered a great reporter’s job in Chicago and soon he has to decide whether or not Margy will be a part of that future. This film is well directed and I was impressed with some of the camera work during a close-up of a horse race. If you enjoy watching a film from a more innocent time, with a good story, this one is for you. I am recommending it for 12 and up as the young will find the romantic plot to be slow. However, with the contests including the hog contest, the pickle and mince meat pie contest, and other fun activities, “State Fair” is a pleasant experience.