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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

State Fair (1945)

A small farm family consisting of father (Charles Winninger), mother (Fay Bainter), son (Dick Haymes) and daughter (Jeanne Crain) are headed to the Iowa State Fair where the father hopes to win a blue ribbon for his prize hog and the mother a ribbon for her pickles and mincemeat. The kids are looking to just have fun. Previously made in 1933 as a straight B&W film, this version was turned into a Technicolor musical featuring the only score written directly for the screen by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. The narrative may be flimsy but the Rodgers & Hammerstein score is not, it's very good and includes the haunting Oscar winning classic It Might As Well Be Spring. There's an Americana charm to it and one would have to be a curmudgeon to actively dislike it. Bainter and Winninger are vets at this kind of stuff and the lovely Crain shows why she rapidly became an audience favorite. Haymes is on the dull side but his singing voice is okay. Fortunately, he's paired with the saucy Vivian Blaine while Crain is paired with Dana Andrews showing the agreeableness he didn't often show in his tough guy noir roles. Directed by Walter Lang. With Donald Meek, Percy Kilbride, Frank McHugh, Jane Nigh and John Dehner. 

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