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


A "demand" showing of the unforgettable film that brought Will Rogers his greatest fame! (1937 reissue print ad) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Cinematographers Joseph A. Valentine and Edwin Hammeras shot the location footage in Des Moines, IA. 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 »


Featured in Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies (1996) See more »


Shanty or Levee Song
(1933) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Fred Rycroft
Written for the movie and probably played in the score
See more »

User Reviews

One of the greatest depictions of Americana
11 July 2002 | by nealvelgosSee all my reviews

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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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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