State Fair (1933)

80 or 100 mins | Comedy-drama | 10 February 1933

Director:

Henry King

Cinematographer:

Hal Mohr

Editor:

Robert Bischoff

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

Sources disagree concerning the running time. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, author Phil Stong was paid $15,000 for the motion picture rights to his novel and was hired by Fox to do an adaptation and treatment. Director Henry King went to the 1932 Iowa State Fair and Exposition in Des Moines with Stong and a camera crew at the invitation of the fair and filmed background material there. IP notes that Joe Valentine and Ed Hammeras photographed background plates, atmospheric shots and race sequences at the fair and used the new Eastman Grayback Background Negative film stock. (The rest of the production was shot an Eastman Supersensitive Negative stock and used two cameras wherever possible, according to IP ). Fox purchased three hogs from the fair, including the grand champion, Dike of Rosedale, who was cast as "Blue Boy." Subsequent to the filming, the hogs were given to the California State school system in a presentation by Will Rogers. Blue Boy died in Jan 1934. Beckmann and Gerety's World Best Shows, of Lincoln, Nebraska, purveyors of the fair's midway, demanded $5,000 for the right of Fox to use any of the footage that King and his crew shot of the midway. Although the Fox legal department offered them $500 and then threatened not to use the footage, the studio eventually agreed to pay Beckmann and Gerety $3,500 and to use two shots in the film that show their complete name and trademark.
       A HR news item states that Spencer Tracy was originally cast in the lead, but that he left the film ... More Less

Sources disagree concerning the running time. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, author Phil Stong was paid $15,000 for the motion picture rights to his novel and was hired by Fox to do an adaptation and treatment. Director Henry King went to the 1932 Iowa State Fair and Exposition in Des Moines with Stong and a camera crew at the invitation of the fair and filmed background material there. IP notes that Joe Valentine and Ed Hammeras photographed background plates, atmospheric shots and race sequences at the fair and used the new Eastman Grayback Background Negative film stock. (The rest of the production was shot an Eastman Supersensitive Negative stock and used two cameras wherever possible, according to IP ). Fox purchased three hogs from the fair, including the grand champion, Dike of Rosedale, who was cast as "Blue Boy." Subsequent to the filming, the hogs were given to the California State school system in a presentation by Will Rogers. Blue Boy died in Jan 1934. Beckmann and Gerety's World Best Shows, of Lincoln, Nebraska, purveyors of the fair's midway, demanded $5,000 for the right of Fox to use any of the footage that King and his crew shot of the midway. Although the Fox legal department offered them $500 and then threatened not to use the footage, the studio eventually agreed to pay Beckmann and Gerety $3,500 and to use two shots in the film that show their complete name and trademark.
       A HR news item states that Spencer Tracy was originally cast in the lead, but that he left the film to replace Charles Farrell in Face in the Sky (see above). According to a HR news item, Lew Ayres was borrowed from Universal. Scenes of the Frake farm were shot at the farm of I. V. Ashcroft near Corona, CA. According to a news item, Fox persuaded Ashcroft to let the company film there by agreeing to paint his farmhouse, put in several hundred feet of white picket fence, build new chicken houses and plant some shrubs. The loop-the-loop aerial acrobatic stunt performed by "Emily" in the film was provided by Edgar Vess of Los Angeles, who also furnished a man and woman to double for Sally Eilers to perform the stunt and a woman teacher for Eilers.
       Letters in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, establish the fact that Jason S. Joy, director of the AMPP's Studio Relations Committee, convinced the producers to change the relationship between Margy and Pat from a sexual encounter, as it was in the novel, to a romance leading to marriage. The relationship between Emily and Wayne was left substantially as it was in the novel. After the film's release, Carl E. Milliken, MPPDA Secretary, wrote in a letter that "we have had more protests against what the preview groups described as, 'the ugly and totally superfluous incident of the son's adventure,' in State Fair , than regarding any other motion picture in the last two years." Milliken surmised that the protests originated because "the [bedroom] scene is presented as being entirely incongruous and unnecessary" and "because the public has grown accustomed to relying upon Will Rogers' pictures to provide unobjectionable humor for the entire family." In 1935, this bedroom scene between Emily and Wayne was cut from all circulating prints in order for Twentieth Century-Fox to receive a certificate of approval from the PCA. In the deleted scene, according to a screen continuity, Emily and Wayne talk offscreen as the bed in which they presumably are lying is shown along with her negligee strewn across a chair. Emily convinces Wayne of the innocence of their affair, and the scene ends as she says to him, "We have been happy and no one is ever sorry when there's a little bit more happiness in the world."
       The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture and Writing (Adaptation). It was picked as one of the ten best films of 1933 by the National Board of Review and was fifth in the FD Poll of Critics. The film was reissued by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. on 7 Aug 1936; only Will Rogers and Janet Gaynor were listed above the title for the reissue. Twentieth Century-Fox remade the film twice as musicals with songs by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II: in 1945 with Jeanne Crain and Dana Andrews, directed by Walter Lang; and in 1962 with Pat Boone, Pamela Tiffin, Bobby Darin, Tom Ewell, Alice Faye and Ann-Margaret, directed by José Ferrer (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.4688). In 1976, CBS broadcasted a sixty-minute television movie based on the novel and films, which was produced by Frankovich-Self Productions in association with Twentieth Century-Fox Television. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
27 Jan 33
p. 5.
Harrison's Reports
4 Feb 33
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 32
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 32
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 32
p. 2.
International Photographer
1 Feb 33
p. 20, 32
Los Angeles Times
16 Jan 33
pt. III, p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Feb 33
p. 38.
New York Times
27 Jan 33
p. 13.
New York Times
5 Feb 33
p. 5.
New York Times
26 Feb 1933.
---
Variety
31 Jan 33
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Henry King's Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Photog in Des Moines
Photog in Des Moines
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Loc mgr
Publicity dir
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel State Fair by Philip Stong (New York, 1932).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Romantic," words by Val Burton and Will Jason, music by Louis De Francesco
"Shanty or Levee Song," words and music by Fred Rycroft.
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 February 1933
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 26 January 1933
Production Date:
background shooting in Iowa: 23 August--2 September 1932
principal shooting in Hollywood began 1 November 1932
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 January 1933
Copyright Number:
LP3634
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 100
Length(in feet):
8,894
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

As his family prepares to leave the small town of Brunswick, Iowa to spend the week at the state fair, farmer Abel Frake dotes over his Hampshire boar, Blue Boy, and wagers cynical storekeeper Fred Cramer five dollars that the hog will win first prize, that everyone in the family will have a good time and nothing bad will happen, and that they will return home safe. After Abel secretly adds a dose of apple brandy to his wife Melissa's mincemeat preparation, which she plans to place in competition at the fair, Melissa, worried that the mincemeat lacks something, adds the remainder of the bottle, against her principles, when no one else is around. Their daughter Margy, who is angry that her beau since childhood, Harry Ware, is too occupied with his milk business to accompany them to the fair, taunts her placid brother Wayne that his girl Eleanor will choose a more exciting "college fella" over him. At the fair, Abel sulks because Blue Boy acts listless. At a "hoop la" stand, Wayne pitches rings perfectly to the annoyance of the barker and meets Emily Joyce, a trapeze artist. Margy, left alone by Wayne, meets newspaper reporter Pat Gilbert on a roller coaster. The next day, Blue Boy perks up when Esmeralda, a redheaded sow, passes by. Margy and Pat decide that rather than become involved romantically, they'll see the fair as friends and part as friends. Melissa wins the pickle and mincemeat contests after Pat secretly speaks to one of the judges, who later suffers from having eaten too much of the mincemeat. After watching harness races, Margy and Pat walk through ... +


As his family prepares to leave the small town of Brunswick, Iowa to spend the week at the state fair, farmer Abel Frake dotes over his Hampshire boar, Blue Boy, and wagers cynical storekeeper Fred Cramer five dollars that the hog will win first prize, that everyone in the family will have a good time and nothing bad will happen, and that they will return home safe. After Abel secretly adds a dose of apple brandy to his wife Melissa's mincemeat preparation, which she plans to place in competition at the fair, Melissa, worried that the mincemeat lacks something, adds the remainder of the bottle, against her principles, when no one else is around. Their daughter Margy, who is angry that her beau since childhood, Harry Ware, is too occupied with his milk business to accompany them to the fair, taunts her placid brother Wayne that his girl Eleanor will choose a more exciting "college fella" over him. At the fair, Abel sulks because Blue Boy acts listless. At a "hoop la" stand, Wayne pitches rings perfectly to the annoyance of the barker and meets Emily Joyce, a trapeze artist. Margy, left alone by Wayne, meets newspaper reporter Pat Gilbert on a roller coaster. The next day, Blue Boy perks up when Esmeralda, a redheaded sow, passes by. Margy and Pat decide that rather than become involved romantically, they'll see the fair as friends and part as friends. Melissa wins the pickle and mincemeat contests after Pat secretly speaks to one of the judges, who later suffers from having eaten too much of the mincemeat. After watching harness races, Margy and Pat walk through the woods and confess their love for each other. Meanwhile, Emily seduces a willing Wayne. At the hog competition, Blue Boy becomes listless again, but he revives upon seeing Esmeralda and wins first prize. On the last night, Wayne, who has spent the previous three nights with Emily and wants to marry her, is greatly disappointed when Emily, who reluctantly has grown to love him, says that they will never see each other again. Pat, who confesses his past indiscretions to Margy, wants to marry her, but she hesitates because she thinks he will not be happy with one woman and with the loss of adventure that comes with marriage, and that she can live a useful, if less than romantic, life with Harry in Brunswick. On the drive home, Margy cries and Wayne sulks. At home, Wayne breaks out of his depression and visits Eleanor. When Fred Cramer sees Margy brooding, he questions whether she enjoyed the fair. Just then, Pat calls from nearby, and Abel wins his bet as Margy excitedly dashes past Harry and Cramer to meet Pat and embrace him. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Rural


Subject

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

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