Wednesday, 2 November 2016

State Fair (1945)

I have been wanting to write a proper review of this movie for ages now, and now the time has finally come!
But before I get carried away, let me start by telling you the plot.

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The Frake family is going to the annual state fair and each member of the family has different expectations. Abel Frake is certain that his prize hog will win the grand award, his wife, Melissa, has high hopes of winning a prize for her pickles and mincemeat, their son Wayne wants to get back at the owner of the ring tossing booth who ridiculed him last year, and their daughter, Margy, longs to experience something new and different to cure her melancholy mood.

When they arrive at the fair, Wayne's goal is quickly accomplished, but at the same time he meets Emily, a big city girl who is a singer with the band, and falls head over heels for her.
Margy also meets a charming stranger at the roller coaster, the reporter Pat, who suggests that they spend some time together at the fair.

Of course when everything seems to be going perfect both couples meet complications and difficulties, and it is with lots of new experiences that the family returns home after the fair.

What do you know, I managed to outline the entire plot without spoiling the ending. That is of course deliberate, for I want you to watch the movie for yourselves.

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The first time I watched the movie, I wouldn't have imagined that it would come to be one of my favourite movies of all time.

But isn't it funny that the thing I disliked on first watching it is one of the things I love about it today?
Yes, I'm talking about the simplicity of the plot!
I think those of you who have seen the movie can agree that nothing much happens; they go to the fair, have fun, meet people and go home.
But from start to finish the plot is very sweet and idyllic, showing an idealised version of ordinary rural lives. And when you think of the time that the movie was made (1945), this kind of movie would be exactly what many Americans would need to watch - a reminder of what normal life once was and hopefully soon would be again.
And I think that's why I love i so much now and never tire of it (I've watched it 3 times in the last month and it never gets dull).

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A second thing I love is the clothes! Everybody wear such gorgeous clothes! Even the extras wear dresses in all kinds of lovely patters. And Margy's wardrobe is something else! I did a whole post on her many delicious outfits here.
And it's not just the clothes, the hairstyle are brilliant too! And for a 1940's aficionado as myself, watching this movie is an endless source of inspiration and source material.

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Of course the music should also be mentioned, it is a musical after all!
Although it is not a typical musical of the time, I would describe it more as a movie with songs in it. In the beginning there are a few traditional musical numbers but later on most them are songs sung on a stage by the resident band. But they are definitely good songs! I can't pick a single favourite song, for all of them has been favourites in turn, so suffice to say; I love them all!

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Before I end this I should also mention the actors.
Jeanne Crain is just perfect as the young country girl Margy, she is so innocent and sweet and beautiful and just embodies everything good about a stereotype 1940's actress.
And Dana Andrews does a perfect job of portraying the dashing and worldly fellow who completely captures the heart of the audience.

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So all in all, this is a really light and sweet movie with lots of romance and pretty dresses, and if you like the 1940's or musicals or feel good movies that make you nostalgic, you should definitely try this one.

16 comments:

  1. Lovely review! As you know, I'm very fond of this movie (ESPECIALLY THE COSTUMES :-O).
    By the way, I'm enjoy your old-movie celebration so far. :-)

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    1. Yes, I know we share a love of this particular movie:)
      It's so great.
      I'm glad you enjoy the celebration:)

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  2. I love this movie! :) Dick Haymes voice is out of this world, and the costumes are amazing...And the songs! *Sighs*
    Wonderful review :)

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    1. Yes! The costumes and the songs are so lovely. I always get all dreamy eyed when talking about it:)

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  3. I love "State Fair" too! Especially Dana Andrews, who is always delightful. My favorite song is definitely "It Might as Well be Spring," but "It's a Grand Night For Singing" is a close second.

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    1. Yes, I was completely in love with Dana Andrews after this movie!
      How fun, those 2 songs were my favourites too when I first watched the movie:)

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    2. He's been a favorite of mine for over a decade now. However, when I first watched State Fair as a teen, I was not impressed! I called him "the guy with Dick Tracy hair," lol. Now, though, I own like six more of his movies and have seen many, many more.

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    3. I must admit I have never seen him in anything else.. Can you recommend any of his movies?

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    4. My goodness, yes! The Best Years of Our Lives is amazing. An absolute must-see. My favorite film of his is Laura, and I also really love Swamp Water, though that one is quirky and not everyone will dig it. He's wonderful in The Purple Heart and The North Star, too, and sometimes you can find those on YouTube.

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    5. You can watch The North Star right here on YouTube right now.

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  4. Dana Andrews and Margy's dresses were the main reasons I liked this movie. I tried to find some vintage patterns that look similar, but I couldn't. I want to make some dresses inspired by that style though.

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    1. Margy's dresses are to die for!!
      To actually have dresses in the same style would have been amazing!
      I hope you get to make your dresses:)

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  5. I loved this! State Fair is so cheery and colorful. The hairstyles are superb, especially Margie's bouncy hair.:) And her dresses...I love the cherry one, though I'm not sure I'd leave the actual fake cherries on it.:)

    And Dana Andrews does indeed do a good job of capturing the audience's heart. Maybe too much.;)

    And I really liked what you said about taking the movie's date in consideration when you think of the plot. So true!

    I love your new header!

    ~Rilla Blythe

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