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The Frake family attend the Iowa State Fair. Father Abel enters his Hampshire boar, Blue Boy, in the hog contents. Mother Melissa enters the mincemeat competition. And their children, Margy and Wayne, find love with newspaper reporter Pat Gilbert and trapeze artist Emily Joyce. But will everyone return home safe and happy or will hearts be broken? Written by
Director Henry King and crew were invited to the 1932 State Fair and Exposition in Des Moines, Iowa to film background material, including the racing scenes and midway. After the fair, they purchased three hogs, including the grand champion, Dike of Rosedale, who was cast as Blue Boy. See more »
Most of the credits appear as posters being put up on billboards by workmen. In the film's final scene, there is a heavy rain, and as it washes away the poster bearing the title "State Fair", we see that it was pasted over another poster that says "The End". See more »
This 1933 film of STATE FAIR is nearly impossible to see except on one Fox cable channel, but is the best of all versions, with genuine and unsentimental writing and acting. Director Henry King propels the leisurely plot with a thrilling moving camera that efficiently depicts the varied sensations of a state fair, from wholesome contest fun to the menace of barkers and carnies.
King has a consistent handle on the theme, that the state fair is a quick microcosm of life, an event that thrusts persons together in a venue that makes possible the "rollercoaster" of infatuation (and sex--this is pre-code pleasure), the tension of competition, and the diversion from hard work in this depression era America. Even "Blue boy" the hog and "self object" of Will Rogers' likeable character discovers the same conflicted feelings of sexual attraction. The cast is excellent, with standouts of Rogers, a most natural performer, in a film that is unpolluted by awkward stereotyped supporting players common to his films. A truly stunning-looking Lew Ayres is a dream of a roller coaster partner, and Victor Jory in his silk shirt perfectly embodies the carnie whom small children fear to encounter outside the midway. But it's the quiet moments that register the most--the pensive characters driving at dusk to the fair, full of private anticipation, still totally one as a family. Modern films rarely dare such introspective glimpses, but this film doesn't bore because it is so true. These rural citizens are proud and flawed, but like the wonderful characters in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, they embrace the chance to take in the fun and mystery of life.
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