A Fair is a Veritable Smorgasbord!

As we continue our tour through the Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection, I have lots to say about Oklahoma!, which turns into, I’m sorry to say, even more to say about Carousel. But in the meantime, a quick and easy report on State Fair.

This weekend, I watched the 1945 version, which is a musical adaptation of a 1933 film adaptation of a novel. And of course, the 1945 musical was re-made in 1962 with Ann-Margret–that version is in the R&H box set as well, but I haven’t watched it yet. (And we complain that “these days” there are no original stories at the movies!)

This is apparently the only musical that Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote directly for film, which puts it in an odd position: it was written after Oklahoma! and Carousel, but appeared on the big screen a decade before they did.

State Fair is fun. Brother and sister carry on mildly scandalous affairs at the fair, while their cheerfully oblivious parents win all the awards. Blueboy the boar gets a blue ribbon and finds true love.

Jeanne Crain’s sleeves are amazing in basically every single scene.


You’ll never dream the things that you could hide within these sleeves!

State Fair is pleasant enough, but I can’t help but feel that Technicolor was wasted on this film. If it weren’t for those R&H tunes that sure do get stuck in your head,

(and let’s not discount those porcine sound effects) I think this would be one of those anonymous things that comes on Turner Classic Movies at 8 a.m. and sucks you in to watching when you should be doing work.

Surely I’m not the only one this happens to.

Anyway, the verdict? State Fair is basically…Charlotte’s Web: the College Years. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


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