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State Fair (1962)

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Texan farmers the Frake family head for the Texas State Fair in Dallas. The parents are focused on winning the competitions for livestock and cooking. However, their restless daughter Margy and her brother Wayne meet attractive new love interests.

Director:

José Ferrer

Writers:

Richard L. Breen (screenplay) (as Richard Breen), Oscar Hammerstein II (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pat Boone ... Wayne Frake
Bobby Darin ... Jerry Dundee
Pamela Tiffin ... Margy Frake
Ann-Margret ... Emily Porter
Tom Ewell ... Abel Frake
Alice Faye ... Melissa Frake
Wally Cox ... Hipplewaite
David Brandon David Brandon ... Harry Ware
Clem Harvey ... Doc Cramer
Robert Foulk ... Mincemeat Judge
Linda Heinrich Linda Heinrich ... Betty Jean (as Linda Henrich)
Tap Canutt Tap Canutt ... Red Hoertert (as Edward 'Tap' Canutt)
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Storyline

The Frakes - father Abel Frake, mother Melissa Frake, young adult son Wayne Frake and eighteen year old daughter Margy Frake - are a farming family from Banning, Texas getting ready to go to the multi-day Texas State Fair in Dallas as they do every year. Wayne is too preoccupied with entering his red sportster in the Gold Cup car races against his arch rival Red Hoertert than really notice that his unofficial fiancée Betty Jean isn't going to the fair. And Margy is just preoccupied with the thought of being in a relationship with a real man, instead of the courtship she has with the boorish Harry Ware. At the fair, Melissa is hoping she made the right decision regarding the mincemeat she has entered for judging, she dealing with her temperance view against Abel's assertion that the mincemeat would taste better with some brandy. The competition is even more cutthroat as commercial producers have entered several of the food competitions including mincemeat this year. And Abel may have ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

So fresh and wonderful with Richard Rodgers' NEWEST melodies and NEWEST lyrics!

Genres:

Musical | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Spanish | French

Release Date:

9 March 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Feira da Vida See more »

Filming Locations:

Becker, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wally Cox's first film. See more »

Connections

References The Dawn Patrol (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

It's A Grand Night For Singing
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
Performed by Ann-Margret, Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, David Street, Pamela Tiffin,
and Chorus
(Vocals for Miss Tiffin: Anita Gordon)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best... just ask the audience.
21 September 2008 | by scribesmith65See all my reviews

For years, the 1945 version of STATE FAIR has been considered the critics' favorite, while the out-of-print VHS of the 1962 remake sold for large sums in dark corners online. Clearly, the 1962 version has always been the audience favorite, despite any barbs from historians and the R&H organization, which openly dismisses it. There are flaws, to be sure -- notably the lack of chemistry between Bobby Darin and Pamela Tiffin -- but the strengths of the film far outweigh its shortcomings.

If something was lost in translation between rural Iowa and urban Texas, the location photography virtually serves as a documentary of 1960s America, a time when technology was just beginning to rear its ugly head in American industry. While the 1945 version had a Technicolored charm to it, the remake's location shooting captures the excitement of the midway in a manner no studio backlot could possibly convey. The CinemaScope lens was invented for a film like this, and the 'you-are-there' sensation is strong as footage from the 1961 Texas and Oklahoma fairs sprawls across the wide screen.

The casting is terrific for the most part, though, as aforementioned, Tiffin and Darin are at dramatic odds with each other. Neither was costumed or photographed flatteringly. Director Jose Ferrer manages to conceal Tiffin's ethereal beauty at every turn, while Darin's role suffers from uneven characterization and, surprisingly, the fact that he is given only two opportunities to vocalize. However, the rest of the cast compensates for this. Pat Boone and Ann-Margret convey the culture clash of country boy/city girl more powerfully than actors in either the 1933 or 1945 versions. Tom Ewell is obviously having the time of his life as Abel, and Alice Faye complements his efforts in unexpected ways (from Faye's accent, it's clear that Melissa isn't from Texas originally, that she ended up there as a result of marrying Abel). There is also a maturity in Richard Breen's script that is lacking in the whitewashed 1945 version. Witness the scene toward the end, where Abel (Ewell) comforts his devastated son Wayne (Boone); it is obvious that Wayne has lost his innocence to Emily in the physical sense, something that hadn't been hinted at since the 1933 pre-Code version.

Finally, musical director Alfred Newman gives the remake the lush, no-expense-spared orchestration the music demands, on par with the instrumentation Fox lavished on earlier Rodgers and Hammerstein films like CAROUSEL, THE KING AND I and SOUTH PACIFIC. The 1945 version was scored before the Fox studio orchestra was augmented in 1953; stereophonic sound and doubling the amount of musicians gives 1962's STATE FAIR a full, rich sound that finally allows the score to take its rightful place alongside other R&H masterworks. Much has been written about the fact that Richard Rodgers' additional songs weren't up to the six originals, but they are necessary -- the original score contained only one character-driven song, and no love songs at all, so even if they are sub-par, "Willing and Eager" and "This Isn't Heaven" are welcome opportunities to allow the two couples to express themselves in song, and the charm of Faye and Ewell's "It's the Little Things in Texas" compensates somewhat for the loss of "All I Owe Ioway." Moreover, the additional songs transform a mini-musical into a true musical.

STATE FAIR is a treat in any of its incarnations, each of which captures the era in which it was made. The 1933 version has a Depression-era sensibility that emphasizes how much that week in Des Moines meant to poor people who spent all year working the land; the 1945 version glows with a colorful, idyllic post-WWII optimism; and the 1962 remake spotlights the clash between rural life and urban gentrification. When it's all said and done, STATE FAIR will be remembered for its glorious words and music, and nowhere are these heard to better advantage than in Alfred Newman's lovingly scored charts for the 1962 remake. It's time that critics and historians embrace the remake. State fairs by nature are garish and gaudy, and so is the film. It is by far the best rendition of this property.


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