The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935)

91 or 94 mins | Romance | 2 August 1935

Director:

Victor Fleming

Writer:

Edwin Burke

Cinematographer:

Ernest Palmer

Editor:

Harold Schuster

Production Designer:

William Darling

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

Henry Fonda, who was under personal contract to Walter Wanger, made his screen debut in The Farmer Takes a Wife and reprised the role he had played in the Broadway production. According to modern sources, Fox originally wanted Gary Cooper and then Joel McCrea for the role. Margaret Hamilton also reprised her role from the Broadway production. HR news items note that Spencer Tracy was originally cast as "Jotham Klore," but was removed from the cast for unspecified reasons in late Mar 1935. He was reinstated a few days later, but was finally replaced by Charles Bickford soon after filming began when he obtained a release from his contract with Fox. Jane Withers was removed from her part in Redheads on Parade (see below) in order to be in this film. Other HR news items stated that De Witt Jennings, Charles Grapewin, and Herbert Heywood were to be in the cast, but their participation in the completed picture has not been confirmed. According to the HR review, the role of "Fortune Friendly" was "originally designed" for Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash on 15 Aug 1935, thirteen days after the film was released. According to a HR news item, the shooting of this film was "almost entirely confined to a single comprehensive set, ready in every detail before the picture went into work." The news item noted that producer Winfield Sheehan utilized this same production technique in Way Down East , which also starred Fonda (see below). Twentieth Century-Fox remade The Farmer Takes a Wife ... More Less

Henry Fonda, who was under personal contract to Walter Wanger, made his screen debut in The Farmer Takes a Wife and reprised the role he had played in the Broadway production. According to modern sources, Fox originally wanted Gary Cooper and then Joel McCrea for the role. Margaret Hamilton also reprised her role from the Broadway production. HR news items note that Spencer Tracy was originally cast as "Jotham Klore," but was removed from the cast for unspecified reasons in late Mar 1935. He was reinstated a few days later, but was finally replaced by Charles Bickford soon after filming began when he obtained a release from his contract with Fox. Jane Withers was removed from her part in Redheads on Parade (see below) in order to be in this film. Other HR news items stated that De Witt Jennings, Charles Grapewin, and Herbert Heywood were to be in the cast, but their participation in the completed picture has not been confirmed. According to the HR review, the role of "Fortune Friendly" was "originally designed" for Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash on 15 Aug 1935, thirteen days after the film was released. According to a HR news item, the shooting of this film was "almost entirely confined to a single comprehensive set, ready in every detail before the picture went into work." The news item noted that producer Winfield Sheehan utilized this same production technique in Way Down East , which also starred Fonda (see below). Twentieth Century-Fox remade The Farmer Takes a Wife as a musical in 1953, under the same title. It was directed by Henry Levin and starred Betty Grable and Dale Robertson. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
31-Aug-35
---
Daily Variety
10 Jun 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Jun 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 35
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 35
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 35
p. 4, 7
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 35
p. 6.
Motion Picture Daily
11 Jun 35
p. 22.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Jul 35
p. 85, 88
New York Times
9 Aug 35
p. 21.
Variety
14-Aug-35
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITERS
Contr to spec seq
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Farmer Takes a Wife by Frank B. Elser and Marc Connelly, as staged by Max Gordon (New York, 30 Oct 1934), which was based on the novel Rome Haul by Walter D. Edmonds (Boston, 1929).
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 August 1935
Production Date:
early April--mid May 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 August 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5780
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
91 or 94
Length(in feet):
8,140
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
927
SYNOPSIS

On a spring day in 1853 in Rome, New York, jack-of-all-trades Fortune Friendly explains to little Della how the Erie Canal transports goods and provides the link between Europe and the western United States. The "season," during which boats carry cargo through New York to Lake Erie, will begin the next day, and the residents of Rome excitedly make their preparations. The leading boater and resident bully, Jotham Klore, arrives with his cook and sweetheart, Molly Larkins, while farmer Dan Harrow also arrives and meets Sam Weaver, for whom he will work while saving to buy a farm. The canalers are fearful of the encroaching railroad, which is threatening to cut their business, and when Dan and Molly meet for the first time, she is insulted when he says that the railroads are the way of the future. Despite Molly's passion for the canal and Dan's preference for the soil, they are attracted to each other, and Dan is disappointed when Molly chooses to stay with Jotham rather than cook for him. Jotham and Molly head for Rochester, and on the way they encounter actor Junius Brutus Booth and his son John Wilkes, who claims that he will someday be as famous as Abraham Lincoln. After their arrival in Rochester, Molly meets Dan again while Jotham recovers from his drinking binge of the previous night. Molly becomes fed up with Jotham's mean temperament and quits to work for Dan, despite her misgivings that the gentle farmer may be a coward. Soon after, Sam wins in the Ohio state lottery and gives Dan a half-share in his boat. The excited Dan proposes ... +


On a spring day in 1853 in Rome, New York, jack-of-all-trades Fortune Friendly explains to little Della how the Erie Canal transports goods and provides the link between Europe and the western United States. The "season," during which boats carry cargo through New York to Lake Erie, will begin the next day, and the residents of Rome excitedly make their preparations. The leading boater and resident bully, Jotham Klore, arrives with his cook and sweetheart, Molly Larkins, while farmer Dan Harrow also arrives and meets Sam Weaver, for whom he will work while saving to buy a farm. The canalers are fearful of the encroaching railroad, which is threatening to cut their business, and when Dan and Molly meet for the first time, she is insulted when he says that the railroads are the way of the future. Despite Molly's passion for the canal and Dan's preference for the soil, they are attracted to each other, and Dan is disappointed when Molly chooses to stay with Jotham rather than cook for him. Jotham and Molly head for Rochester, and on the way they encounter actor Junius Brutus Booth and his son John Wilkes, who claims that he will someday be as famous as Abraham Lincoln. After their arrival in Rochester, Molly meets Dan again while Jotham recovers from his drinking binge of the previous night. Molly becomes fed up with Jotham's mean temperament and quits to work for Dan, despite her misgivings that the gentle farmer may be a coward. Soon after, Sam wins in the Ohio state lottery and gives Dan a half-share in his boat. The excited Dan proposes to Molly, who accepts with the condition that they finish the season and see how they get along. They agree not to discuss the canal or farming, and three months pass as the young couple fall more in love. Jotham, meanwhile, has spent the three months in jail for fighting, and when he is released, he vows to get Dan for stealing Molly. Molly and Dan go the Oneida County Fair, and there Molly learns that Jotham is searching for Dan. Dan, who has just closed a deal for a farm, tells Molly that they must leave immediately, and Molly assumes that Dan is running away from Jotham. Later, when Molly learns about the farm, she feels that Dan has betrayed her by not giving himself more time to like the canal life. She breaks off their engagement, and Dan gives her his half-interest in the boat and leaves. A month later, Fortune visits Dan on his farm and tells him a tall tale about Molly suffering from the insults of the canalers, who taunt her for having worked for a coward. Fortune's plan to reunite Dan and Molly almost succeeds when Dan returns to Rome to defend Molly's honor. Dan bests Jotham in a fistfight, but when Molly assumes that he will stay on the canal, Dan tells her that he is not interested in being a bully or staying on the river, but in leading a quiet life farming. He leaves, but soon after, Molly arrives on his farm and announces her intention to stay, by asking where the kitchen is. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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