This was the first time around for the screen adaptation of Phil Stong's lovely story of Americana. Since it was so rooted in small-town life, the wise choice as the lead was Rogers, who represented country people well with his sharp, down-home wit. In Iowa, it's time for the annual State
Fair, and Rogers, wife Dresser, son Foster, and daughter Gaynor eagerly await their trip to the event. Rogers owns a huge hog known as Blue Boy, a Hampshire boar, that he thinks has a shot for the blue ribbon as Best in Show. Dresser is an expert cook and is entering her pickles and mince in the
contest, and Gaynor and Foster (who later became one of the best B movie directors around) are along for the ride. The State Fair takes place on a camping ground and lasts a full week, so they have plenty of time to see everything. The problems begin immediately, as Dresser frets while the judges
taste her wares and Rogers can't seem to get his prized boar in the proper mood. Foster encounters Eilers, a trapeze artist working at the fair, and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Gaynor meets newsman Ayres, and they fall instantly in love. (Don't forget, the whole movie only
takes 80 minutes, so there is little time for development of relationships.) Foster proposes to Eilers after one evening together, but she is far more experienced than the farm boy and knows it's puppy love. She sagely talks him out of his ardor and suggests that he consider marrying his childhood
The reverse occurs with Ayres and Gaynor. He has a history of being a trifler with women and when he proposes, Gaynor says she cannot accept right now but will take the matter under consideration. Meanwhile, Rogers can't seem to put any spark in his lazy boar and fears losing the prize. Then a
seductive sow is put in the next pen and Blue Boy suddenly begins to act lively and the judges are suitably impressed. Blue Boy wins the prize. Now Dresser's foods are under scrutiny. She doesn't know that Rogers put a dose of brandy into the mincemeat and he doesn't know that she did the same
thing, so the judges are struck by the alcohol and love it, awarding her the first prize in her division. The family goes home triumphant. Foster ruminates on his brief, torrid night with Eilers and Gaynor is saddened by her putting Ayres off when she wanted to say "Yes" all along. Once home,
Ayres calls to say that he must have her and is on his way to their rural residence to propose again.
A nice, pleasant tale, light enough to be a musical (which it eventually became, twice). The producers suggested Rogers buy Blue Boy but Rogers declined, saying "I can't do it. I just wouldn't feel right eating a fellow actor." The picture was such a hit that when Blue Boy died, his demise was
noted in a January, 1934, edition of Time magazine right next to the passing of various notables. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, losing to CAVALCADE, and also earned a nomination for Best Screen Adaptation.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This was the first time around for the screen adaptation of Phil Stong's lovely story of Americana. Since it was so rooted in small-town life, the wise choice as the lead was Rogers, who represented country people well with his sharp, down-home wit. In Iow… (more)