State Fair 1945 // Review

Eva, this post is for you. :-)

Several months ago, I was lying in my bed, feeling cranky. I can't quite remember what I had, but I wasn't feeling well, and I went to Youtube to find something for myself to watch - something that would cheer me up a bit. I chose 'State Fair' for several reasons.


1. I had heard of it quite a lot and it looked so charming. (I was already head-over-heels in love with the costumes before I watched it, of course.)
2. It looked liked something the rest of my family wouldn't really enjoy that much (so it would be okay for me to watch on my own, as they didn't really miss out on anything.)
3. It looked like something that would cheer me up.
4. It was on Youtube. (Ha.)

So I watched it. I, WOW, I loved it. It was that delightfully charming and that yearning-to-dive-in-kind-of-movie. I loved it disastrously much, and I wanted to be Marge Frake and wear her darling frothy frocks and go to a fair and meet my future husband there. I seriously lived in a dreamy haze for the next day(s) - I lived with my head in State Fair, wearing the clothes and buying lollies with a dignified gentleman. It's the kind of dream old-movie-style movie, with nothing heavy or teary about it - a movie to cheer you up, a movie to dive into, like a bag of coloured candy. *Sigh*


The Story is about a sweet little family - Stubborn-and-good-old-Pa, Practical-and-loving-Ma, Fun-and-dorky-brother Wayne, and dreamy-whimsical-beautiful-protagonist Marge - who live rather happily in a green-budded farm. The movie starts with them packing to go to the annual State Fair in town. It is obviously a big thing for the family. It seems to be a big thing for everyone - neighbours flock together and talk about that. Mr Frake starts betting about his pig to one of his neighbours, and Wayne phones his girlfriend to ask her if she'll come too.

How can you not like a movie with such an endearing family? :-)


Marge is in a relationship with some kind of weird guy who she obviously doesn't want anything to do with, and Wayne gets his share of disappointment when his girlfriend says she can't come. So both the siblings are rather glum-faced in the beginning. Marge, because she seems stuck with that weird guy and millions of rosier dreams (I have to admit, Marge is a bit whiny in the beginning - but she's adorably whiny, so it doesn't matter at all), and Wayne, because his girlfriend couldn't come. But glum-faced or not, they head off with their caravan to the State Fair, Pa's pig, Ma's alcohol-filled-stews, and all.


The brother and sister find their own way in the colourful, sprinkled-with-cosy-lights and little stalls of attractions, and meet their own new friends. Oh, my goodness, there are so many reasons why I want to DIVE in this movie. The balloons. The competitions. The music. The dances. The hats. The singing couples. The bets and tensions. The little stalls. The popcorn and the lolly sticks. The family, cosy, atmosphere. The colourful evenings, with all the lights. So safe and darling.


Marge meets her Mr Handsome when she tries one of those whizzing-screaming-trains. She clings to the stranger (but-not-stranger-for-long-ha-ha) next to her, only realising her embarrassment when the train comes to a stop. But the stranger happens to be the most dignified, gentlemanly guy ever, and they become good friends and meet up evening after evening, afternoon after afternoon, in the cosy bubbles of the State Fair. They go on Merry-go-rounds, buy red Lolly-pops, all together. They even steal a hug or too and sing 'It's a Great Night for Singing' in the Starlight together.

This couple must be the most handsome couple in cinema history. Jeanne Craine and Dana Andrews are so ridiculously perfect in their roles. A couple struck by moonlight and everything twinkly and beautiful. *Le sigh*


Wayne meets a red-headed, bright-eyed singer, and, not realising she's married, he forms a quick boyish crush on her. They also go through some enjoyable evenings together - dancing and singing some plain-fun songs. But the relationship ends promptly when Wayne realises she's a married woman, and in the end he's happily riding his old girlfriend in his car again. Wayne is the kind of easy, fun guy who gets along with life. I really love Wayne. :-)


As I said, this movie is just so DREAMY. It's just like Marge - dreamy, twinkly, gorgeous, romantic, sweet, kind. While I understand why some people wouldn't like it (because I don't think my siblings would be this crazy about the movie as I am - it's not really the kind of movie for middle-aged-boys who like a bit of action and who loathe romance, right?), I have to admit it has entranced my heart a little. I'm fond of this musical.


Ah yes, it's a musical. That means I must talk of the songs, right? This musical doesn't have as many songs as most musicals, but it is a very toe-tappy, music-filled movie nonetheless.

The songs are ridiculous fun. Some of them are more dreamy and wishful. The one Marge sings in the beginning - 'It Might as Well be Spring' - is a bit kind of whiny, but, don't worry, it's worth it, because she sings it in one of the prettiest bedrooms in cinema history and she sits on the windowsill in the most elegant manner ever possible during part of it. It's just visually stunning, this movie is.

My favourite is, easy, 'It's a Grand Night for Singing.' It's the theme song of the Musical, and no wonder. It's crazily swingy and joyful and impossible-not-to-smile. :-) I also love the silly song 'Isn't it Kinda Fun' - I don't really approve of the lyrics, but it's just SO MUCH FUN. :-D 'All I Owe' is also lovely.

JUST LOOK AT THEIR SMILES.
Now I have to talk about my main love for this movie - the Costumes. THE COSTUMES. They are to die for. Every piece. Especially Marge's wardrobe - especially Marge's wardrobe. AH. *Another big sigh, because hey, it's that kind of 'sigh' movie.*

Marge has one of my favourite movie-wardrobes EVER. If you know me and my millions-of-zillions-of-favourite-movie-costumes, you have to realise that this sets the standard high. Marge's wardrobe is to die for. She has the adorable crunchy look (yes, the delicious curly top does help finish off the look) - with beautiful girlish aprons, starry puffy sleeves, flowered bodices, and cherry-decorations. I LOVE EVERY COSTUME IN THIS MOVIE. There, I just said it.


This movie was made in 1945, so I like to think that girls my age watched it to celebrate the end of the War. What an excellent way to celebrate something, don't you think? :-)

Oh, one last thing: Eva is considering doing a State Fair week, everyone. Do comment and tell her that you're interested! :-)

Have you seen this musical?
As crazy about it as I? :-D

Comments

  1. This makes me reeaaaally want to see State Fair again! It's been years and years. But I do remember I liked it, a lot. ;-)

    Marge is sooo pretty! And Dana Andrews....well, yeah. ;-P It's funny, as I was reading through your descriptions, I found myself remembering things about the movie I haven't thought of in eons.

    The two songs I remember best are "It Might As Well Be Spring" and "It's a Grand Night For Singing" (which my sisters and I used to sing all the time. ;-P) Don't you love good old Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals?

    I LOVED this review! Well, done, Naomi. :-)

    ~Emma

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  2. Interesting. I've only ever heard negative views of State Fair so maybe I'll have to give it a try.
    Have you ever seen "Laura"? It has Dana Andrews in it as well and is awesome! :)

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  3. *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEP*

    Ohhhhhh, how I love this post. :) Between the pictures and the words, you captured the film perfectly, and it was just what a review should be. ASODFJASEORSAJDFOA. I loooove what you said about Margie and Pat and how they're such a lovely couple and...everything, basically. Everything you said, I completely agree with.

    This is such a joyful, funny, COZY movie. *siiiiigh* (Yes, it's very sigh-worthy too.) Thanks so much for writing this review AND linking to my blog. :) Now for a re-read....

    ~Eva

    (Sorry if this whole comment seems rather disjointed. I have a hard time leaving well-thought-out comments, especially on fangirlish posts.)

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  4. Emma, I was kind of hoping you'd have serious State-Fair-re-watching-urge after this review. :-) Marge is SO pretty. I personally think Jeanne Craine is a really underrated beauty. :-P And Dana Andrews... oh MYE. :-D
    Oh yes, I forgot about the fact that this is a Roger and Hammerstein movie! Their songs are awesome. (Well, almost all of them. Cuz I have to admit I'm not crazy about all of their movies.)
    Thanks, honey! :) And DO rewatch it, so we can swoon over it and dive into it together.

    Lois, really? I couldn't see why! (I have heard the newer version is a little trashy, so maybe you've read reviews of that version (?))
    No, I haven't seen 'Laura', BUT I WISH TO. :-P Haha, does that sound familiar? Nope. :-P

    Eva, OH MY GOODNESS I'M GLAD YOU LIKED THIS. :-D I so enjoyed your fangirly comment - goodness, don't bother about making comments well-thought-out. :-P
    Oh, PAT! THAT's his name! I completely forgot it whilst I was writing this review - (as you can see, I named him Mr Handsome instead - for some reason or the other I thought it a rather fitting synonym.) Pat has never been a favourite name of mine, but now I look at it in a complete different light - Hmm, I wonder why?!
    I hope you don't mind that I mentioned your maybe-State-Fair-week. I mean, I don't want to make it harder for you to decided on a 'no'!
    And isn't it SUPER sigh-worthy?! I really enjoyed your comment. :-)

    ~ Naomi

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  5. Yesssss, State Fair is so lovely. And your review was, too, so let me collect some of my thoughts... :)

    The metaphor of candy to describe it is spot on. Candyfloss, too. Sweetness and lightness and fluff, heehee.

    I think my favourite thing about them is how they're such a typical Mother, Father, son and daughter. They're adorable. ;)

    MR HANDSOME. Ain't that the truth.
    So when I first met him, I thought he seemed too polite and gentlemanly and all that to be sincere. Maybe people now are more scared of making an all-around nice guy than they were then, heh.
    Oh, and of course I didn't pounce on all the pictures of him and Margy to use as screensavers. Not at all. That would be ridiculous. Perish the thought. :P

    The fair, the songs, and the costumes... love, love, love. Such a sweet movie.

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  6. Aaahh, I need to watch State Fair again!
    I love Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain in this. They are SO sweet. <3

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  7. I actually watched this the other night to remind myself of it! It's not my favorite, but it is nice!
    Wayne is awesome!
    Margie is whiny, but sometimes I feel that way too. But I'm probably not as adorably whiny :(
    I've always wanted to go to a fair with competitions and stuff!
    It's a Great Night for Singing is one of my favorite songs. EVER!
    I think both of the couples are adorable! Emily is so pretty! and Dana Andrews! And he's a journalist!!!
    Sitting on windowsills sounds like soooo much fun!
    I never thought about girls watching it to celebrate WWII's finish! That's awesome!
    Yup, this is a pretty great musical :D

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  8. *sigh of relief* I'm so glad we fangirls understand each other. :) I have an even harder time commenting on deep posts (which is why I almost never do), because I always like my comment to match the tone of the post itself. Anyway...yep, his name is Pat. I don't really care for it myself, and I would just refer to him as Dana (or Mr. Handsome - by the way, I'm having a SUPER hard time figuring out why you dubbed him that ;)) if it didn't drive me crazy when other people refer to characters by their actor's or actress' name. Because it's like they don't care enough about the movie or the characters.

    (Note: This is definitely NOT a reflection on you, by the way. I was talking about people in general, no-one in particular. Makes sense? :))

    I quite like his character's name in Laura. Mark McPherson. Very solid and dependable and hero-ish, in my opinion. And, nope, I don't mind that you mentioned the potential blog week; I still have quite some time to plan it out, so I don't feel pressured in the least. (I've allllmost made up my mind to do it, if you couldn't guess. :))

    Have a grand evening!

    ~Eva

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  9. This is the first thing I ever saw Dana Andrews in, and yeah, he's adorable in it. "It Might as Well Be Spring" is my favorite song from it, and I sing it relatively often. They're all great, though!

    (But it's not stew, it's mincemeat.)

    Looking forward to the State Fair party :-D

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  10. I watched this just a month or so ago on youtube! It exceeded all of my expectations! Such a dear, sweet movie and Jeane Crain is LOVELY!!! I especially liked the first song because I'd heard that song before and didn't know it came from that musical. You know, that "I recognize that!" moment. :) And lets just give a hearty girl's squeal over her costumes together: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Okay, that lets some of it out. :P But really! The full skirted, puffed sleeved, beautifully colored dresses are to die for!

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  11. So Naomi, prepare for a long comment. :-)
    After I had read this, I put it on my to-see list and waited until the right opportunity came to see it. It came last night - I was feeling miserable because I had (have) a cold (just like you did) and I wanted something nice. Something that would make me happy. So I chose this and I am SO glad I did! It was everything you said it was! I think the best way to describe this movie is fairy floss - it's so pretty, it's fluffy as in it doesn't have a plot exactly and it's a type of thing you would want to have only occasionally, otherwise you'd get sick of it. But it's so gorgeous! The costumes kept me gawking at the screen the whole time (why isn't the fashion like that anymore? WHY??!!!) and all the hairstyles and how the men were suits and they all had hats and it was just so adorable. Our local shows are about 1/5 of that size, they are MUCH smaller, but it's the general idea. Not to disappoint you, but people don't dress like that anymore - the appropriate thing to wear these days is jeans and a checked shirt. *sniff* My Mummy said she remembered when she was a little girl they used to dress up like that, so it's quite sad that they don't anymore. :-( I love how their family is just like your typical family (on a side note, what time was this set? I suppose it wouldn't have been anything set less than 1940s, so it would have been considered a modern movie for it's time, haha). Aww, that's such a sweet idea that girls would watch it for the celebration of the end of World War 2. Now, let me just comment on the movie itself, although I can tell it's going to be disjointed. :-/
    I agree, she is adorable whiny. Actually, remember the scene where Marge and Harry (I think that's the dorky fellow's name) were sitting together, and she mumbled something like, "Oh, ducky"? That's what it sounded like to me, and I giggled so much. I might just use that. ;-D Ah, I wish OUR shows were like that, they are so much smaller and less classy! There are larger ones more like that, but they're too expensive, especially for big families (as I'm sure you know the feeling). :-/ I don't think I would cling to a stranger no matter how scared I was, but I'd doubt that'd happen, because I love roller coasters. :-D Especially fast ones (like the one they went on)!
    To be honest, I didn't like Emily that much, she WAS pretty (although I thought Marge was much more beautiful - how could anyone's face be so smooth, even with all that make-up?! :-P) but just the fact that Wayne was SO in love with her and she didn't even say anything. But she can sing (and hey, so can everyone else in the movie - don't you just wish it was like that in real life? ;-P). I much prefer that singing compared to the modern basically sing-through-your-nose-and-belt-it-out-who-cares-about-lyrics-we-want-beat stuff. THIS is singing.Yes, Wayne is so easy going, which would help him through life a lot, I'd imagine. ;-)
    Totally, totally agree - I greatly enjoy these kind of movies every now and then, but the rest of my family wouldn't care (well, my siblings at least).
    CAN I HAVE MARGE'S BEDROOM WITH THE LACE CURTAINS THE FIRE PLACE AND THE WINDOWSILL?!!! That was my dream bedroom. Yes please I'll take it.
    I must admit, I didn't find the songs quite as catchy as, say, "Meet Me In St. Louis" but I did like most of them, particularly "It's a Grand Night for Singing". I am glad there are reasonable pictures - I just made a collage for my screensaver (although I'm sure my sisters won't appreciate it :-P).
    Now I can tick it off my list of movies, and add it to my 'feel happy' list. :-) It's the perfect movie for when you're sick, I think.
    Lovely review, as always. :-D
    ~Miss Meg March

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  12. Miss Meg March, I'm going to answer your comment, because it was AWESOME and thank you so much. :-) I'm sorry you're having a cold, though - hope it gets better!
    Oh, of course I know that people don't dress like that anymore! It's a pity, but hey, it makes these movies all the more dreamier. If we did dress like that, I don't think I would've enjoyed the movie as much. :-) Yeah, I'm pretty sure this movie is set around the 1940's, so yeah, t'would have been a modern-set-movie for the folks who watched it back then. Funny.
    Haha, I've forgotten about that, but it IS funny. 'Oh, ducky.' Haha. Yeah, the fair in this movie is very classy (I know EXACTLY what you mean with big families going to big busy fairs. Impossible.)
    I know, Marge is definitely SUPER pretty. Oh, I like her much better than Emily - I don't really like Emily that much either. Oh and the music now is SO much worse than it was then. In fact, if I could bring back one 'thing' from history (fashion, music, etc.) it would be music. I'm obsessed with the 40's style. Really obsessed.
    MARGE'S BEDROOM IS MY DREAM BEDROOM AS WELL. I just WANT it for MY OWN. *sulks adorably just like Marge*
    Yes, I know, the songs are not THAT catchy aside from It's a Grand Night for Singing. I also rather like 'Isn't it Kinda Fun' - the tune, not the words. I find that one very catchy too.
    I agree, it's a perfect movie for when you're sick. Absolutely perfect. I'm so glad you saw it! Thanks for the lovely, lovely comment - you're a dear!

    ~ Naomi

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