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State Fair Reviews

This second version of STATE FAIR improves on its predecessor of 1933. Oscar Hammerstein based his screenplay on the 1933 adaptation of Phil Stong's bucolic novel, and, with Richard Rodgers, contributed the score. The story is virtually the same, but the addition of the marvelous songs made the musical remake a smash. It's still pleasant mid-summer in Iowa, where Abel and Melissa Frake (Charles Winninger and Fay Bainter) are the parents of the teenage Margy (Jeanne Crain) and Wayne (Dick Haymes). Abel wants to enter his pig at the state fair and treats the porker like a king, lavishing more attention on the beast that his wife. Melissa is preparing her locally famous pickles and mincemeat, hoping to win a blue ribbon herself. At the fair, Wayne falls for Emily (Vivian Blaine), a dance-band singer, and Margy meets Pat (Dana Andrews), a newspaper reporter. After the obligatory romantic complications, Abel's pig hogs the show, Melissa's mincemeat is spiked with brandy and gets the judges tipsy enough to award her the prize, and the couples wind up happy. The story is as light as cotton candy, but everyone has such a good time and rural life seems so sweetly appealing that urbanites flocked to real state fairs after this movie was released.