7.3/10
1,216
36 user 15 critic

So Long at the Fair (1950)

A young woman visits Paris with her brother only to discover the following morning he has gone missing and the hotel staff have no recollection of his presence.
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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Vicky Barton
...
George Hathaway
...
Johnny Barton
Marcel Poncin ...
Narcisse
...
Madame Hervé
...
Rhoda O'Donovan
Betty Warren ...
Mrs. O'Donovan
...
Nina
...
Day Porter
...
British Consul
...
Doctor Hart
...
Police Commissaire
Natasha Sokolova ...
Charlotte
Nelly Arno ...
Madame Verni
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Storyline

Vicky Barton and her brother, Johnny, take a trip to the 1896 Paris Exhibition. They both sleep in seperate rooms in a hotel. When the sister gets up the next morning, she finds her brother and his room had disappeared and no one will even acknowledge that he was ever there. Now Vicky must find out what exactly happened to her brother. Written by DarkDan <DarkDan@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

29 March 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Black Curse  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Audiences in 1950 had no trouble identifying where the somewhat ungainly title came from. It's from the fourth line of a well-beloved folk song, not heard much anymore: "Oh, dear, what can the matter be?/ Dear, dear, what can the matter be?/ Oh, dear, what can the matter be?/ Johnny's so long at the fair." It's no stretch to understand who Johnny is in the movie: It's Jean Simmon's character's missing brother, Johnny, and he certainly seems to have overstayed his welcome at this Paris World's Fair. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film at the hospital, there is a statue of St. Therese of Lisieux. The Exposition took place in 1889, eight years before Therese died, and she wasn't made a saint until about 1925. See more »

Connections

Remake of Covered Tracks (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Tritsch Tratsch Polka
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss Sr.
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User Reviews

A Fair to Remember?
25 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There can be a small study made of movies set in Worlds Fairs. Start with THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, where a few scenes appear at Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace. Then CENTENNIAL SUMMER, where the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition is the center piece. Go on to The STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER, where Clifton Webb (as John Philip Sousa) performs at the 1896 Cotton Exposition in Atlanta. Then go to this film, followed by MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (the St. Louis Worlds Fair in 1904). There would be others.

SO LONG AT THE FAIR is about the Paris Worlds Fair of 1900. It is based on an incident that has grown into a modern urban legend concerning how a young woman was told that she had no mother (or,in the film, a brother), there was no room in a hotel that she left this party in, and that she has been imagining events and people for the last couple of days (at least). In the original legend, the young woman is so hopelessly lost by this she loses her mind and is put into an asylum. In the movie (and its novel and other versions) eventually the massive conspiracy to cover-up what happened is revealled.

Did it happen? Did a young woman (here played by Jean Simmons) come into Paris, readying itself for the big world's fair, find herself confronted by a conspiracy that claimed she imagined it all? No historical evidence has ever surfaced that this actually happened. Yet the story survives. It is a terrific story, for it is based on the fragility of reality. If everyone doubted us how could we prove what we said was true? Hard to say. You need some people to validate your story in part or whole for people to believe you. In all the retellings of this story, the heroine is isolated once the mother or brother is gone. The very person to prove the story is the person whose absence is deplored but questioned.

As a costumed historical film, SO LONG AT THE FAIR is very good, with Simmons aided by Dirk Bogarde as the one person in Paris who believes her. And together they prove that Cathlene Nesbitt (the hotel owner) is lying - but with powerful friends to assist her.

It is not the best retelling of the story - Hitchcock used the plot, but changed it, in THE LADY VANISHES, where it is the missing spy, Miss Froy, whose existance is questioned by all who hear the heroine (Margaret Leighton), except Michael Redgrave.

I should add that students of this mystery don't know which world's fair is the site of the story: the 1889 French fair (where the Eiffel Tower first appeared), or the 1900 one. However there was also the 1867 fair in Paris, where Tsar Alexander II of Russia arrived. One version of the story tells that the reason for the cover-up deals with an attempt on the life of the Tsar. So it could have been one of three fairs that was the basis for this marvelous yarn.


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