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State Fair (60th Anniversary Edition)

4.6 out of 5 stars 356 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Rodgers and Hammerstein's only score written expressly for the screen highlights this delightful film about an Iowa family's adventures at the fair. Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews and Dick Haymes star.

Additional Features

The principal bonus on the two-DVD set is a whopper, the complete 1962 version of State Fair. Enjoyable but less charming than the 1945 film, it has the same basic plot, except that it takes place in 1960s Texas and with its pop-icon cast feels more like an Elvis musical. Alice Faye, who was originally considered for the Jeanne Crain role in 1945, plays opposite Tom Ewell as the parents who take their family to the fair. Pat Boone takes his race car and ends up romancing the hot dancer Ann-Margaret, while the dull Pamela Tiffin is wooed by the annoying Bobby Darin. Bluebell the prize hog is still here, as are the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs such as "It Might as Well Be Spring" and "It's a Grand Night for Singing." Following Oscar Hammerstein's death, Richard Rodgers wrote the music and lyrics for a handful of new, undistinguished songs. On the DVD, Boone recorded a commentary track in which he discusses his ambition to be a "singing Mr. America" and how he had to convince his wife and daughter that there was nothing to the scene he filmed topless with Margaret. Boone speaks only for short stretches, and the DVD menu offers the unusual disclaimer that the commentary track has "extended gaps of silence." On the original film, film historian Richard Barrios and Tom Briggs, who cowrote the 1996 Broadway-musical version, do a commentary track in which they discuss trivia about the film as well as the 1933 original, the 1962 remake, and the stage version. Some of that information is repeated in the "From Page to Screen to Stage" featurette. There's also a black-and-white performance by Mary Martin of "It Might as Well Be Spring" and a pilot for a potential TV series. It's a sort-of musical in that Mitch Vogel goes to the fair to enter a country & western Young Stars of Tomorrow competition, but it's lackluster at best. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Disc 1:
  • Original 1945 movie musical
  • 1.37 aspect ratio, English stereo and mono
  • Commentary by Richard Barrios and Tom Briggs
  • From Page to Screen to Stage: State Fair Featurette
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Still galleries: Set Design and Wardrobe, Behind the Scenes, Lobby Cards and One Sheets
  • Sing-along subtitles
  • Disc 2:
  • 1962 version of State Fair
  • 2.35 aspect ratio, Dolby 4.0 Surround
  • Commentary by Pat Boone
  • State Fair television pilot
  • Vintage stage excerpt: It Might As Well Be Spring performed by Mary Martin

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes, Vivian Blaine, Charles Winninger
  • Directors: José Ferrer, Walter Lang
  • Format: Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 4.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 218 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AP04O2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,654 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "State Fair (60th Anniversary Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAME on April 29, 2006
Format: DVD
This lovely new 60th Anniversary DVD edition of STATE FAIR is a must for all musical fans and Rodgers and Hammerstein II enthusiasts. Featuring the duo's only score written exclusively for Hollywood, and based on the novel by Phil Stong (which had been previously filmed, very successfully, in 1933 with Janet Gaynor and Will Rogers), the musical STATE FAIR is full of homespun charm and lovely performances, enhanced by Technicolor photography and of course the accomplished R&H score.

During their annual visit to the Iowa State Fair, the Frake family enjoy many adventures. Proud patriarch Abel (Charles Winninger) has high hopes for his champion swine Blueboy; and his wife Melissa (Fay Bainter) enters the mincemeat and pickles contest...with hilarious results. Their children, however, have romance on their minds. Wayne (Dick Haymes) falls head over heels for flashy bandstand singer Emily (Vivian Blaine), whilst Margy (Jeanne Crain) finds the man of her dreams in the worldly-wise journalist Pat (Dana Andrews). Rodgers and Hammerstein's score features the beautiful Academy Award-winning song "It Might as Well Be Spring", not to mention a rich tunestack of "That's for Me", "All I Owe Ioway", "Isn't It Kinda Fun?" and "It's a Grand Night for Singing".

The cast is simply superb. Charles Winninger, who had been the original Capt'n Andy in Oscar Hammerstein II's "Show Boat", is a warm presence as the father, with Fay Bainter (Oscar-winner for "Jezebel") also heavily scoring as the wife. Dick Haymes, with his clean-cut good looks and smooth crooning voice, is likewise a perfect fit for Wayne.
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This warm and wonderful film is one of the truly great American musicals, yet is also the least talked about. A terrific cast and some of the best songs Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II ever gave birth to make this Walter Lang film a real treat. It will always bring a smile to your face no matter how many times you see it. It is much like "On Moonlight Bay" in that it is a fine family film with a rural setting, nearly bursting with traditional American values. The fact that it contains some great songs that are worked into the story in a natural and not artificial way is a big bonus.

The Frake family in Iowa are all ready for their annual and much beloved trip to the State Fair. Young and pretty Margy Frake (Jeanne Crain) is excited that she might meet the fella that will change her life. Her brother Wayne (Dick Haymes) has been practicing the ring-toss all year so he can get even with the carny who gave him a bum prize last year. Their pa, Abel (Charles Winninger), is excited about his pet boar, Blueboy, winning the grand prize this year. Percy Kilbride has a fine part as Abel's old pal, Dave Miller. They have a five dollar bet on whether they'll all have a good time at the fair this year.

Their mother, Melissa (Fay Bainter), is entering her pickles and mincemeat and has dreams that she will win this year over the snooty Mrs. Metcalf. Pa sneaks some brandy into her mincemeat when she's not looking that might just give her the edge this year. Donald Meek has a funny role as one of the judges, Hippenstahl, who is delighted by the taste, and the aftereffects, of Melissa's mincemeat!

Dana Andrews is a reporter for the Des Moines Register named Pat, who thinks he's seen the world until he meets the sweet Margy.
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Format: DVD
There's something incredibly heart-tugging about this story of a farm family's trip to the Iowa State Fair. Each family member is going for a different purpose: the mom to win a pickle contest, the dad to win the hog contest, the eldest son to win the ring-toss (and get revenge on the swindler holding it) and the young daughter to get away from the farm and the only available bachelor in the county, for whom she has little interest. The daughter is the focus of the story as she goes from moping and being uninterested in the fair to finding the love (and having the time) of her life.

For any romantics who have ever dreamt of having a fling or meeting the love of their life while on vacation, this story has an emotional irresistibility. Hopeless romantics watching alone will be hard-pressed to hold back tears and couples hard-pressed not to end up in each other's arms.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein music is a real treat -- both delightful and catchy. You may find that you don't realize how good the music and lyrics are until you catch yourself humming or singing the songs days later.

This is perhaps my favorite musical. It has the music, the charming setting and the emotionally-involving story. I highly recommend it to anyone of any age, but especially young couples and hopeless romantics (especially dreamy-eyed, young girls). It is truly a great musical and one of the first.
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Format: DVD
As far as the story, cast, and songs go, State Fair is a warm nostalgic film which is highly enjoyable. I bought the DVD for what I hoped would be an improvement over my VHS. I was disappointed by the audio and video quality of the DVD to be quite honest. The audio is so low that I really had to crank up my receiver to get an acceptable volume. Afterall, this is a musical isn't it? In the early part of the film when Jeanne Crain is singing "It Might As Well Be Spring", there seemed to be little gnats flying around her face. In reality they were spots on the film that SHOULD HAVE BEEN CLEANED UP. This condition improved later on, but come on! These Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals should have been given a lot more loving care than they have received. I say this because other musicals in the series also have problems. The audio and video on State Fair needs some restoration, the kind that is afforded other classic films. Otherwise, a worthwhile purchase.
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