five things I love about ‘state fair’

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!


29 thoughts on “five things I love about ‘state fair’

  1. YESYES. I NEED TO REWATCH THIS. T’is just suuuuch a darling movie and I know exactly what you mean by ‘the feel of it.’ Dana Andrews (I wrote Dana Stevens first, HAHAHA) is extremely good and THE COSTUMES. GAHH. You’re right, Emily’s wardrobe is amaaazing – especially the silvery dress. Her hair is gorgeous too. Marge’s wardrobe is my personal favourite though. 🙂

    Loved this, of course, and thanks for linking to my review! 🙂


  2. Lovely write-up on an equally lovely movie! It’s one of those films that instantly puts a smile on your face, and it stays the whole time. I’ve only seen it once, but your post made me want to re-watch it! 🙂


  3. Hi Eva. I know what you mean about this as a happy movie. I would love to see the Will Rogers/Janet Gaynor version, which was pre-Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I know this one is superior to the 1962 Pat Boone (ugh)/Ann-Margaret version.


  4. Not sure if my first comment went through..
    If not.
    What a lovely blog to stumble across, thank YOU Naomi’s! 😀 I just adore your header. Oh! I’m Evelyn Louise, a uni student studying to be an English teacher 🙂 This film looks adorably lovely! I will have to check it out once uni exams are over.
    ~Evelyn Louise


    • Some books that are really good for that are Jack Cavanaugh’s novels. Especially the American Family Portrait series. (Highly recommended, great stuff.) Off the top of my head, though, I can’t think of any other movies (besides State Fair) that have such a relationship. You?


      • Errmmmmmmmmm . . . “Pride and Prejudice” has Darcy and Georgiana, but it’s not a huge part of the plot . . . ?

        Yeah, basically, brother-and-sister relationships are Lacking. Memo to self: Must attend to this problem 🙂


      • I forgot that one!!!!!!! *facepalm* Probably because I was thinking “movies,” and I don’t really like either of the Mansfield Park movies . . . but yeah, I LOVE their relationship in the book 🙂 (We need a better MP film adaptation, am I right??)


      • Oh, I totally agree with you about the need for a new MP adaption – maybe a four-part BBC production like we got for Emma? That would be perfection.


  5. I haven’t yet seen this film, but I have ridden on the carnival ride that is in your last picture! The ride used in the film is at Heritage Square park in Golden, Colorado. It’s a fun little park, and I recommend a visit if you are ever in the Denver area.


  6. As a friend once put on Twitter, State Fair is the kind of film that makes you vomit rainbows – it’s just too cute! I love Jeanne Crain and watched the film mainly because of her, but it is a fell-good movie. I’m always singing It Might as Well be Spring, one of my favorite songs ever!
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂


  7. This IS the best version, and I feel so disloyal to my Bobby Darin every time I say that, but it’s utterly true.

    Did you know Dana trained to be an opera singer? And that the reason he didn’t do his singing in this is that they didn’t know he could sing, and he never told them he could because he figured whoever was dubbing his songs probably needed the job and he didn’t want to take it away just to show off his singing?

    Dana Andrews deserves every single hug I’ve ever wanted to bestow on him, yes, he does.


    • Yes, I think I did know that. He’s SUCH a sweet guy. ❤

      (Do you own that biography of him by Carl Rollyson? Because I really want to get it sometime, but I don't want to spend a ton of my money and then it turns out not to be all that great, so I'd like to get your thoughts on it if you do have it.)


  8. Randomly stumbled on this blog while packing up house and watching ‘High Society’ with Grace Kelly. Looking for my ‘state fair ‘ disc now i thought i was the only one who adored this film! I’m way older than you (36) but my favourite thing to do is grab coffee, curl up and watch old films in all their glory. Great blog 💟


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