Fox, 1945, Color, 100 minutes, ****
Released August, 1945
The adventures of the Frake family at the Iowa State Fair unfold amidst this rousing celebration of love and laughter in America's heartland.
Each member of the Frake family is out for a different prize at this state fair: a blue ribbon for father's favorite pet pig; first prize, and first prize only, for mom's entry in the pie-baking contest; and, for their son and daughter (winningly played by Dick Haymes and Jeanne Crain), the hunt is on for the best prize of all, true love. Dana Andrews is superb as the daughter's love interest.
This Rodgers and Hammerstein score, their only composition written exclusively for the screen, features foot-stomping production numbers and day-dreamy ballads, and it yielded some of their biggest hits, including "It's a Grand Night for Singing" and the 1945 Best Song Academy Award winner, "It Might As Well Be Spring." As the New York World-Telegram predicted in 1945, State Fair "will remain bountifully full of pleasure through visit after visit."
The photography in this production is fantastic. Every shot is like a work of art, and the colors of the sets and costumes are awesome! Of course, this DVD version has been "restored," so the colors are more vivid than they were even when the film was new. It's beautifully filmed, and it's filled with wonderful music!
Produced by: William Perlberg
Directed by: Walter Lang
Screen Play by: Oscar Hammerstein II
From a Novel by: Philip Stong
Adapted by: Sonya Levien, Paul Green
Music by: Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by: Oscar Hammerstein II
Music Direction: Alfred Newman, Charles Henderson
Orchestral Arrangements: Edward Powell
Art Direction: Lyle Wheeler, Lewis Creber
Set Decorations: Thomas Little
Associate: Al Orenbach
Costumes: Rene Hubert
Makeup Artist: Ben Nye
Sound: Bernard Freericks, Roger Heman
Special Photographic Effects: Fred Sersen
Director of Photography: Leon Shamroy (Photographed in Technicolor)
Technicolor Director: Natalie Kalmus
Associate: Richard Mueller
Film Editor: J. Watson Webb
Awards: Won Best Song Academy Award ("It Might As Well Be Spring")
Cast: Jeanne Crain [Margy Frake], Dana Andrews [Pat Gilbert], Dick Haymes [Wayne Frake], Vivian Blaine [Emily Edwards], Charles Winninger [Abel Frake], Fay Bainter [Melissa Frake], Donald Meek [Hippenstahl], Frank McHugh [McGee], Percy Kilbride [Miller], Henry (Harry) Morgan [Barker], Jane Nigh [Eleanor, Wayne's Girlfriend], William Marshall [Marty], Phil Brown [Harry Ware], Additional Cast: Paul E. Burns [Hank], Tom Fadden [Eph], William Frambes [Pappy], Steve Olsen [Barker], Josephine Whittell [Mrs. Metcalfe], Paul Harvey [Simpson], John Dehner [Announcer], Harlan Briggs, William Wright, Alice Fleming [Judges], Walter Baldwin [Farmer], Ralph Sanford [Police Chief], Frank Mayo [Man], Minerva Urecal [Woman], Almira Sessions, Virginia Brissac [Farmer's Wives], Earle Dewey, Wheaton Chambers [Assistant Judges], Harry Depp [Secretary to Judge], Francis Ford [Mr. Martin], Margo Wood [Girl], Jo-Carroll Dennison [Girl], Neal Hart [Farmer], Coleen Gray [Girl], Bess Flowers [Spectator at Judging], Emory Parnell [Senator], Louanne Hogan [singing voice of Jeanne Crain], Ben Gage [singing voice of Dana Andrews]
Musical Program: [0:00] Overture (played by Orchestra behind titles); [0:01] Our State Fair (sung by Percy Kilbride, then Charles Winninger, then Blueboy, then Fay Bainter); [0:04] It Might as Well Be Spring (sung by Louanne Hogan dubbing for Jeanne Crain); [0:13] It Might as Well Be Spring (continued by Louanne Hogan dubbing for Jeanne Crain); [0:17] It Might as Well Be Spring (continued by Louanne Hogan dubbing for Jeanne Crain); [0:19] It Might as Well Be Spring (instrumental reprise played by Orchestra as the Frakes drive to the State Fair); [0:38] That's for Me (sung by Vivian Blaine with Tommy Thomas Orchestra); [0:42] It's a Grand Night for Singing (sung by Dick Haymes joined by Chorus and Company); [0:46] That's for Me (reprised by Dick Haymes and Louanne Hogan dubbing for Jeanne Crain); [0:59] It's a Grand Night for Singing (reprised by William Marshall, Vivian Blaine and Chorus at party); [1:01] Isn't It Kinda Fun? (sung by Dick Haymes and Vivian Blaine); [1:18] All I Owe Ioway (sung by William Marshall, Boys Chorus, Vivian Blaine, Mixed Chorus and Company with the Tommy Thomas Orchestra; danced by Mixed Chorus); [1:39] It's a Grand Night for Singing (reprised by Dick Haymes and Chorus at end of film)