As soon as I stumbled across The Classic Movie Ice Cream Social Blogathon, I knew exactly what movie I wanted to talk about: State Fair, the 1945 version. (Of course. Because I’ve only seen that one, and I’m already convinced that it’s the best.) It’s such a light, happy, cheerful little movie…not really deep or serious or anything like that, but quite simply, a ray of sunshine. Like Singin’ in the Rain, I suppose. In fact, I’ve yet to decide whether I love Singin’ in the Rain or State Fair better. Anyway, for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like writing a bona fide review, so instead I’m listing five things that make State Fair one of my favorite movies of all time.
(By the way, if you want a more in-depth look at State Fair, I highly recommend Naomi’s review.)
1. The brother-sister relationship. It’s not often that one sees a brother-sister relationship in either films or books. Brothers, yes. Sisters, yes. But hardly ever a brother and sister. So it’s neat to see Margie and Wayne acting like normal siblings would – teasing each other, having fun together, etc. It’s neat and, as I mentioned before, quite unique. I also like how Margie and Pat’s relationship parallels Wayne and Emily’s. (Until, you know, it doesn’t.) And I’d also like to add that the Frakes are a great example of what a regular family is like and it’s super. Always a high point of the film for me.
2. The songs. The first I watched State Fair, I must admit that I didn’t much care for the songs, but upon numerous re-watches they began to grow on me until I loved them all. I mean, Rodgers + Hammerstein are geniuses and the songs of State Fair are alternately dreamy and romantic or catchy. Or both. Even now, I find myself humming ‘That’s For Me’ off and on throughout the day (just like Margie!). I really enjoy all the songs, though I usually prefer songs in musicals to flow from the plot instead of being performed on-stage in the movie itself. (Does that make sense?) But even though most of these songs are part of the entertainment at the fair – ‘That’s For Me’, ‘It’s A Grand Night For Singing’, and ‘All I Owe Ioway’ – I still really enjoy them all. (And I also enjoy how the melodies are picked up and played as background music at the fair.)
3. Dana Andrews. Just in case you were wondering, YES, he deserves his own point on this list. I believe that State Fair was the first Dana movie I watched after his devastating turn in The Ox-Bow Incident, and this light-hearted role was exactly what I needed to see him in. As Pat, he’s so sweet and such a gentleman…basically, the role is perfect for Dana and I never tire of watching him. (In anything, but especially this.) The only thing that could have made his role better was if he’d provided all the singing bits himself. (Because Dana had a great singing voice.) Anyway, if you’re interested in watching a Dana Andrews film and you don’t want anything heavy, definitely check out State Fair.
4. The costumes. Margie has some lovely, lovely costumes in this film, but it’s Emily’s that really stick out, in my opinion. Especially that dress with the silvery skirt and velvety blue top that she wears during ‘I Owe Ioway’ – that’s my favorite outfit in the whole movie. I’m not an expert on fashion or movie costumes, so I’ll just say that if you yourself are a fashionista, State Fair will not disappoint.
5. The feel of it. It’s something I can’t put my finger on, this indescribable happy feeling that fills me whenever I watch State Fair. It’s bright and joyful and cheery. Dana Andrews stars in one of my favorite roles of his. The romance between Pat and Margie is like a blissful fairytale, complete with happy ending (the first time I watched this, there was only about a minute left on the film and things still weren’t patched up and I was getting really worried – but it all worked out in the end). I just want to DIVE INTO this movie and live in it for a good long time. It’s beautiful. And it always makes my heart happy so, yes, I love State Fair and I’ll always love it.
P.S. You can watch the whole thing on Youtube!