17 user 9 critic

State Fair (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 10 February 1933 (USA)
An Iowa family finds adventure, love, and heartbreak, when they spend a week at the state fair.


Henry King


Sonya Levien (screenplay), Paul Green (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Janet Gaynor ... Margy Frake
Will Rogers ... Abel Frake
Lew Ayres ... Pat Gilbert
Sally Eilers ... Emily Joyce
Norman Foster ... Wayne Frake
Louise Dresser ... Melissa Frake
Frank Craven ... Storekeeper
Victor Jory ... Hoop Toss Barker
Frank Melton ... Harry Ware


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 L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


FOR THOSE WHO MISSED IT BEFORE! (1937 reissue print ad-all caps) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When Fox released the 1962 remake of State Fair, the studio ceased further distribution of the earlier versions so as not to compete with the remake's box office take. The 1933 film disappeared entirely for decades, not to be seen again until the 1990s. The 1945 version turned up on television with a new title, It Happened One Summer, again to minimize confusion, as the 1962 version was also leased to local television stations. See more »


Abel Frake: Wayne's got a girl.
Storekeeper: So did Henry VIII, eight of them, but he always showed up at every state affair with a new one.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

The original version had a bedroom scene in which Emily and Wayne are heard talking offscreen with Emily's negligee lying on a chair, suggesting that they were in bed together for illicit sex. This scene was cut in 1935 from all existing prints in order to get an approval certificate from the PCA for a re-release. The scene is not included in the print that the Fox Movie Channel currently broadcasts. See more »


Remade as State Fair (1945) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Played at the closing of the fair
See more »

User Reviews

Our State Fair Is A Great State Fair
26 October 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Overshadowed in this day and age by the two musical film versions that succeeded it, this version of State Fair provides a great showcase for the personality and talent of American institutions Will Rogers. Although I was surprised to see that in the billing, Fox's main female star at the time, Janet Gaynor, was billed above him. The power of what winning the first Best Actress Oscar can get you.

It was probably only natural that the two would eventually be in a project together. Gaynor always played good girls, fresh from the farm like Melissa Frake, her best example of that is Esther Blodgett in A Star Is Born. As for Rogers, his patented brand of homespun humor had already established his legend.

When I did a review of Junior Bonner, I said that the film was simply the story of a rodeo family's day at the Presscott Frontier Rodeo. State Fair is a simple film, without any pretensions; the story of the Frake Family and its visit to the State Fair where all of them have an unforgettable time.

I wouldn't believe it, but Will Rogers never had a better straight man than his prize hog Blue Boy who perks up and struts his stuff when an attractive sow comes to his attention. But he's far from the only one who finds romance.

Janet Gaynor meets small city reporter Lew Ayres who says that even though the paper is a Republican one, don't blame him and the rest who have to work there to make a living. Republicans were not highly thought of in the wake of the Depression back in the day. Her wholesomeness attracts him.

As for son Norman Foster he gets quite a lesson in love in a most explicit before the Code encounter with trapeze artist Sally Eilers. Surprising for a Will Rogers film in my humble opinion.

Even Louise Dresser comes home a winner, taking first prize in just about everything she prepares due to Rogers spiking her cooking liberally with some schnapps. He knew the best way to the judge's heart.

State Fair is a great piece of nostalgic Americana and a great showcase for that American institution named Will Rogers.

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Release Date:

10 February 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

State Fair See more »

Filming Locations:

Des Moines, Iowa, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(FMC Library Print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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