12 user 7 critic

The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935)

Charming love story set on the Erie Canal in the mid-19th Century. A farmer works on the canal to earn money to buy a farm. He meets a cook on a canal boat, but she can't even consider ... See full summary »



(novel), (play) | 3 more credits »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Way Down East (1935)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A family living on a farm in Maine takes in a young woman to stay with them, not knowing that the woman is not quite what she seems and has a secret in her past that she hasn't told them about.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Rochelle Hudson, Henry Fonda, Slim Summerville
Comedy | Romance | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Jonathan Street is a struggling composer when he meets and marries Annette. The problem is that Jonathan was drunk and does not want to be married. Annette does go with him to Paris and ... See full summary »

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Lily Pons, Henry Fonda, Eric Blore
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A feud, the origins of which can barely be remembered, has been boiling for decades between two sheltered mountain families, the Tollivers and the Falins. With plans to build a railroad ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A comedy about marriage and everything relating to it. New York novelist Henry Fonda meets up with an actress, Margaret Sullavan, and the two date and later marry, though neither knows of ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, Henry Fonda, Charles Butterworth
Tortilla Flat (1942)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Danny, a poor northern Californian Mexican-American, inherits two houses from his grandfather and is quickly taken advantage of by his vagabond friends.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield
Reckless (1935)
Drama | Musical | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Wealthy Bob Harrison buys all the seats in the theatre to watch Mona Leslie's musical by himself. He loves her, her agent Ned Riley loves her. Conflict ensues.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Franchot Tone
Slim (1937)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A veteran lineman takes an awe-struck young farmer under his wing, but problems arise when he introduces him to his occasional girlfriend, a pretty nurse.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Pat O'Brien, Henry Fonda, Stuart Erwin
State Fair (1933)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An Iowa family finds adventure, love, and heartbreak, when they spend a week at the state fair.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Will Rogers, Lew Ayres
Bombshell (1933)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Sexpot film star Lola Burns seeks a new image and tries marrying a marquis, adopting a baby -- all sorts of schemes which go awry.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Three working girls in Budapest pool their resources to get a better apartment and impress their dates. One dates a nobleman and, learning of her rejection by him, considers poison. Another... See full summary »

Director: Edward H. Griffith
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young, Constance Bennett
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After graduating from a West Coast college, four friends fly to New York City to seek employment.

Director: John G. Blystone
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, James Dunn
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

College sweethearts Julie and Ives have planned to marry. Their plans go amiss when Julie meets a weak writer and runs off to marry him. After her husband dies, she's left in Paris, ... See full summary »

Directors: Joshua Logan, Arthur Ripley, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Joan Bennett, Henry Fonda, Louise Platt


Complete credited cast:
Dan Harrow
Jotham Klore
Fortune Friendly
Elmer Otway
Roger Imhof ...
Samson 'Sam' Weaver
Lucy Gurget
Blacksmith (as Siegfried Rumann)
Sol Tinker
Robert Gleckler ...
Fisher - Freight Agent


Charming love story set on the Erie Canal in the mid-19th Century. A farmer works on the canal to earn money to buy a farm. He meets a cook on a canal boat, but she can't even consider leaving the exciting life on the canal for a banal one on a farm... Written by Ed Lorusso <elorusso@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

canal | farm | erie canal | cook | boat | See All (26) »


Comedy | Romance





Release Date:

2 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Noiva do Camponês  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Henry Fonda's debut film. See more »


The map shown at the beginning of the movie contains several errors for the 1850s, including showing West Virginia as a separate state. The second map shows an arrangement of European states that would not be valid until 1871. See more »


Featured in Henry Fonda: The Man and His Movies (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Fight For Your Lady"
11 September 2016 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE FARMER TAKES A WIFE (Fox, 1935), directed by Victor Fleming, stars Janet Gaynor in one of her finer film roles of her latter-day career at her home studio. Often teamed opposite Charles Farrell in as many as twelve feature films that began in 1927, the role of the farmer didn't go to Farrell this time, now that Farrell's career has already past its prime, but to a newcomer to the motion picture screen by the name of Henry Fonda (1905-1982). An appropriate choice considering it was Fonda who starred in the original stage production in 1934, a role that earned him recognition, enough to be selected the lead for his movie debut. As much as Fonda didn't receive any special screen introduction in the opening credits, a common practice that would occur in later years, at least he did have his name placed below his leading lady and above the title, which is an honor in itself.

The setting takes place in New York State around the year 1850, where the Erie Canal is the most important means of transportation route through the area. Yet there is new means of progress that's to change all this, and that's the railroad rumored to become its rival force. Molly Larkin (Janet Gaynor), an Irish-spirited girl who comes from a long line of fighters, works as a cook on the boat "Emma" for Jotham Klore (Charles Bickford), known to many as both "the bully of the canal" and roughneck who's never lost a fight in his life. Entering the scene is Dan Harrow (Henry Fonda) who arrives in time to stop a fight between two men on the street, much to the dismay of Molly. Eventually Molly becomes acquainted with the quaint but soft-spoken Dan, who's come looking for work on the canal in order to earn enough money to buy a farm. He is soon hired as a driver boy of the "Starsey Sal" boat for Samson Weaver (Roger Imhof). After Klore becomes drunk and unruly towards Molly, she quits his employ and goes to work on Weaver's boat. Now sober, Klore learns about Molly leaving him, thus becoming violent enough to go after Dan. Before carrying on his threat, Klore is taken to jail for where he spends three months to think things over. After Weaver wins a $5,000 lottery, he makes Dan captain, offering him half interest on the boat, which would help him earn enough money to buy a farm within the year. Because of his good fortune, Dan, who thinks of nothing but Molly, proposes marriage to her. Her reply is that she will marry him in due time on the promise she not talk about the canal while he not talk about farming for an entire year. As the year passes, Dan goes against her wishes by buying a farm from Mr. Butterworth (Frederick Burton). While this upsets Molly, nothing can further get her Irish blood boiling when she comes to believe Dan is a coward for leaving for his farm rather than fight with Klore, who's come looking for him to settle a score.

Other members of the cast include: Andy Devine (Elmer Otway); Sig Rumann (The Blacksmith); Margaret Hamilton (Lucy Gurget); and John Qualen (Sol Tinker). Slim Summerville, then a new resident of Fox Films from Universal, offers some comedy relief as Fortune Friendly, a dentist, who, in his opening sequence with the apple on a stick eating Della (Jane Withers), explaining through the map of the process of the railroad, allowing himself to pull the wrong tooth from Ivy (Kitty Kelly), one of his first patients (or victims). There's even one moment of amusement where he's seen examining the teeth of a horse. Summerville comes in and out of the story with some more comedy relief, even to the point of getting Dan to break away from his farm to fight for Molly's honor.

Leisurely paced and traditional Fox Films production of early America with songs and background music as "Oh, Susannah" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad" to reflect the spirit of the times. Because Fonda has worked his way to a long range of motion pictures that ended shortly before his death in 1982, earning a Best Actor Academy Award for his final motion picture of ON GOLDEN POND (1981) indicates how such a performer had the rare distinction of starring in both his first and last movie in the span of 45 years. Even if Fonda made this this his one and only movie, somehow there would be something about his presence that would continue to stand out, even today. With Gaynor and Fonda being a good combination, this was to be the only time they worked together.

Remade as a Technicolor musical by 20th Century-Fox (1953) starring Betty Grable and Dale Robertson, the remake was fine but didn't seem to have the lasting appeal as the 1935 original. Regardless of its then success, the original THE FARMER TAKES A WIFE, never distributed to video cassette during the home video era of the 1980s and 90s, has become one of those rarely seen products, at least not until cable television resurrected it briefly in 1983 on Cinemax, and decades later on Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: August 1, 2009).

This is where the legend of Henry Fonda begins. It's also a look back into the near forgotten career of both Janet Gaynor back in the days before the old Fox studio converted to 20th Century-Fox the year of its release. (***)

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: