Critic Reviews of "State Fair"
Film Freak CentralFebruary 11, 2007
Even among dyed-in-the-wool fans of R&H, this one's largely remembered, if remembered at all, as a dud.
EmanuelLevy.ComDecember 21, 2005
Rodgers and hammerstein's songs are great, but this musical version of the 1933 Will Rogers' vehicle is poorly directed by Walter Wang and poorly acted by Jeanne Crain, whose voice is dubbed by Louanne Hogan.
Gallery of "State Fair"
Soundtracks of "State Fair"
Actors of "State Fair"
Jeanne CrainBirth date: 25 May 1925, Barstow, California, USADescription: Jeanne Crain was born in Barstow, California, on May 25, 1925. The daughter of a high school English teacher and his wife, Jeanne was moved to Los Angeles not long after her birth after her father got another teaching position in that city. While in junior high school, Jeanne played the lead in a school production which set her on the path to acting. When she was in high school Jeanne was asked to take a screen test to appear in a film by Orson Welles. Unfortunately, she didn't get the part, but it did set her sights on being a movie actress.After her high school career, Jeanne enrolled at UCLA to study drama. At the age of 18, Jeanne won a bit part in Fox Studio's film entitled The Gang's All Here (1943) and a small contract. Her next film saw Jeanne elevated to a more substantial part in Home in Indiana (1944) the following year, which was filmed in neighboring Kentucky. The movie was an unquestionable hit. On the strength of that box-office success, Jeanne was given a raise and star billing, as Maggie Preston, in the next film of 1944, In the Meantime, Darling (1944). Unfortunately, the critics not only roasted the film, but singled out Jeanne's performance in particular. She rebounded nicely in her last film of the year, Winged Victory (1944). The audiences loved it and the film was profitable.In 1945, Jeanne was cast in State Fair (1945) as Margie Frake who travels to the fair and falls in love with a reporter played by Dana Andrews. Now, Jeanne got a bigger contract and more recognition. Later that year, Jeanne married Paul Brooks on New Year's Eve. Although her mother wasn't supportive of the marriage, the union lasted until her husband's death and produced seven children. The year 1947 was an off year for Jeanne, as she took time off to bear the Brooks' first child.In 1949, Jeanne appeared in three films, A Letter to Three Wives (1949), The Fan (1949), and Pinky (1949). It was this latter film which garnered her an Oscar nomination as Best Actress for her role as Pinky Johnson, a nurse who sets up a clinic in the Deep South. She lost to Olivia de Havilland for The Heiress (1949). Jeanne left Fox after filming Vicki (1953) in 1953, with Jean Peters. She had made 23 films for the studio that started her career, but she needed a well-deserved change. As with any good artist, Jeanne wanted to expand her range instead of playing the girl-next-door types.She went briefly to Warner Brothers for the filming of Duel in the Jungle (1954) in 1954. The film was lukewarm at best. Jeanne, then, signed a contract, that same year, with Universal Studios with promises of better, high profile roles. She went into production in the film Man Without a Star (1955) which was a hit with audiences and critics. After The Joker Is Wild (1957) in 1957, Jeanne took time off for her family and to appear in a few television programs. She returned, briefly, to film in Guns of the Timberland (1960) in 1960. The films were sporadic after that. In 1967, she appeared in a low-budget suspense yarn called Hot Rods to Hell (1967). Her final film was as Clara Shaw in 1972's Skyjacked (1972).Jeanne died of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California, on December 14, 2003. Her husband Paul Brooks had died two months earlier.
Dana AndrewsBirth date: 1 January 1909, Covington County, Mississippi, USADescription: American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews, was born Carver Dana Andrews on a farm by Collins, Covington County, Mississippi. He was the son of Annis (Speed) and Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister. He was one of thirteen children, including actor Steve Forrest.Andrews studied business administration at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Texas, but took a bookkeeping job with Gulf Oil in 1929 prior to graduating. In 1931, he hitchhiked to California, hoping to get work as an actor. He drove a school bus, dug ditches, picked oranges, worked as a stock boy, and pumped gas while trying without luck to break into the movies. His employer at a Van Nuys gas station believed in him and agreed to invest in him, asking to be repaid if and when Andrews made it as an actor. Andrews studied opera and also entered the Pasadena Community Playhouse, the famed theatre company and drama school. He appeared in scores of plays there in the 1930s, becoming a favorite of the company. He played opposite future star Robert Preston in a play about composers Gilbert and Sullivan, and soon thereafter was offered a contract by Samuel Goldwyn.It was two years before Goldwyn and 20th Century-Fox (to whom Goldwyn had sold half of Andrews' contract) put him in a film, but the roles, though secondary, were mostly in top-quality pictures such as The Westerner (1940) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1943). A starring role in the hit Laura (1944), followed by one in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), made him a star, but no later film quite lived up to the quality of these. During his career, he had worked with with such directors as Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, William A. Wellman, Jean Renoir, and Elia Kazan.Andrews slipped into a steady stream of unremarkable films in which he gave sturdy performances, until age and other interests resulted in fewer appearances. In addition, his increasing alcoholism caused him to lose the confidence of some producers. Andrews took steps to curb his addiction and in his later years was an outspoken member of the National Council on Alcoholism, who decried public refusal to face the problem. He was probably the first actor to do a public service announcement about alcoholism (in 1972 for the U.S. Department of Transportation), and did public speaking tours. Andrews was one of the first to speak out against the degradation of the acting profession, particularly actresses doing nude scenes just to get a role.Andrews was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1963, serving until 1965. He retired from films in the 1960s and made, he said, more money from real estate than he ever did in movies. Yet he and his second wife, actress Mary Todd, lived quietly in a modest home in Studio City, California. Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's Disease in his later years and spent his final days in a nursing facility. He died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia in 1992.A quote from Bob Greene in "Chicago Tribune", November 3, 1993, read, "To me, Andrews . . . represented both the grand possibilities and the ultimate despair the movies can offer a man. He was a certified movie star, yet by the end of his life he enjoyed neither artistic acclaim granted a Fellini, nor the ease of getting a job taken for granted by a Phoenix."
Dick HaymesBirth date: 13 September 1918, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaDescription: Arguably one of the best singers of the twentieth century, Dick Haymes was born in Argentina to a Scots/Irish father and Irish mother, but brought to the U.S. as an infant. Dick inherited his vocal gift from his mother who made ends meet during the Depression as a singer and voice teacher. A music gig in 1931 caught the eye of a local band leader and soon Dick was moving up, but it was slow-going. In 1939, while Dick was trying to pitch his songwriting talents to band leader Harry James, he ended up his featured vocalist, instead. During the war years Dick hooked up with the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey orchestras before deciding to go solo. Nabbing his own radio program in addition to a Decca recording contract, Twentieth Century Fox soon expressed interest in his musical talents. Among his many film leads were State Fair (1945) opposite Jeanne Crain and Vivian Blaine, Diamond Horseshoe (1945) and The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947) both paired with Betty Grable, One Touch of Venus (1948) with Ava Gardner, and All Ashore (1953), a second string version of On the Town (1949), with Mickey Rooney and Ray McDonald as his shore-leave buddies. For such a pleasant and unassuming man, Dick's personal life certainly was a shambles aggravated by alcoholism and financial debt. Five marriages came and went (including actresses Joanne Dru, Nora Eddington, Rita Hayworth, and Fran Jeffries) before his sixth one finally stuck. By the 1960s, his life was all but ruined. He managed to travel to Europe and picked up the remnants of his career. His reputation had not tarnished there, and he enjoyed some renewed popularity; he never regained, however, the foothold in the business that he once had. Dick died of lung cancer in 1980. Though not as well remembered as other crooners of his time (Frank Sinatra, Tony Martin, Vic Damone), and not a particularly charismatic performer on film, this rich baritone's legacy IS his music. Some of Dick's more popular recordings include "The More I See You," "How Blue the Night," "For You, For Me, Forever More," "Speak Low," and "Another Night Like This."
Vivian BlaineBirth date: 21 November 1921, Newark, New Jersey, USADescription: Ms. Blaine is most noted for having portrayed Miss Adelaide, the long-suffering, perpetually engaged chorus girl, in the Broadway and film versions of Guys and Dolls (1955). She originated the role in 1950 on Broadway and stopped the show each night with her rendition of "Adelaide's Lament," in which she complains about having a bad cold because of her long engagement to gambler Nathan Detroit. Ms. Blaine also originated roles on Broadway in "Say Darling" and "Enter Laughing." She also starred on Broadway in "Hatful of Rain," "Company," and, briefly, in "Zorba." She starred in many national tours, including "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Don't Drink the Water," "Hello Dolly," and "Gypsy." Before going to Broadway, Ms. Blaine was a starlet at 20th Century-Fox, appearing in many musical comedy films, including Jitterbugs (1943), Greenwich Village (1944), and State Fair (1945). In the mid 1950s, Ms. Blaine reprised her role as Adelaide in the film version of Guys and Dolls (1955) with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. After her Broadway appearance in "Company" in 1972, she appeared on national television at the 25th Tony anniversary special. This led to a revival of her TV career, and she continued to appear in guest roles on TV and in independent films and theater until her retirement in 1984.
Charles WinningerBirth date: 26 May 1884, Athens, Wisconsin, USADescription: Short, chubby-framed, twinkle-eyed, ever-huggable Charles Winninger was a veteran vaudevillian by the time he arrived in talking films. Born in a trunk to show biz folk in Athens, Wisconsin, on May 26, 1884, he was initially christened Karl Winninger. He left school while quite young (age 8) to join and tour with his parent's vaudeville family act which was called Winninger Family Concert Co. Upon his parents' retirement, he and his five brothers went off to play in various stock and repertory companies. On film Charlie found an "in" with silent comedy shorts between 1915-1916 but never truly settled into the movie business until the advent of sound.In the meantime Broadway made great use of his musical comedy talents, marking his debut with "The Yankee Girl" in 1910 which also featured actress (and later stage star) Blanche Ring. He married Blanche in 1912 and the couple went on to star together quite frequently in vaudeville and on Broadway, including the musical "When Claudia Smiles" (1914) in which Blanche played the title role. Throughout the 1920s there were plenty of roles for Charlie on the Great White Way including a stint with the Ziegfeld Follies (1920), several Winter Garden productions, and in such musical comedy showcases as "The Broadway Whirl" (1921) (with Blanche), "The Good Old Days" (1923), "No, No, Nanette" (1925) and "Yes, Yes, Yvette" (1927). His most significant contribution was originating the role of beloved Cap'n Andy in "Showboat" (1927). Playing the Kern/Hammerstein musical for two years straight, he eagerly returned to the role on Broadway in 1932.With the success of "Show Boat," Hollywood started taking more of an interest in the grey-haired song-and-dance man for character roles. Such early talking movies included the slapstick comedy Soup to Nuts (1930) with Ted Healy and The Three Stooges. Though Charlie was known for adding his immeasurable touch to the comedy genre (Flying High (1931) and Woman Chases Man (1937)), he was also a warm-hearted presence in heavier pictures as well, including the melodramas The Bad Sister (1931) with Bette Davis and The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) with Helen Hayes, and rugged adventures Gun Smoke (1931) and White Fang (1936). Although he did not play his famous stage role in the 1929 version, Charlie was thankfully able to preserve his beloved Cap'n Andy to film in the superb Irene Dunne/Allan Jones remake of Show Boat (1936). He became so associated with the riverboat captain that he was asked to create several variations of the character on radio.Charlie was relied upon for his benign, errant dads, old-theater entertainers, lovable drunks and other rather wanderlust types in film, characters that usually represented old-fashioned common sense or mores. He was quite entertaining in such classics as Nothing Sacred (1937), Three Smart Girls (1936) and Destry Rides Again (1939). In the 1940s he brightened up a number of MGM comedies and musicals including Babes in Arms (1939), Little Nellie Kelly (1940), Ziegfeld Girl (1941), When Ladies Meet (1941), Broadway Rhythm (1944)_ and Living in a Big Way (1947). One of his last important roles was playing Will Rogers' Judge Priest role in director John Ford's film The Sun Shines Bright (1953), his only leading film role. He and wife Blanche never appeared together in a film although Blanche did play herself in the film If I Had My Way (1940), a film that featured Charlie. His Broadway swan song was in "Music in the Air" in 1951 and his final film occurred about a decade later with Raymie (1960). He also played Santa Claus in the hour-long entertainment The Miracle of the White Reindeer (1960) that same year.TV roles dominated much of his work in the 50s. On the one-season The Charles Farrell Show (1956) he played the star's dear old dad. Divorced from wife Blanche in 1951, Charlie subsequently married stage actress-turned-novelist and screenwriter Gertrude Walker whom he originally met on Broadway when he returned to "Show Boat" in 1932 (Gertrude played the role of Lottie). Retired for many years, Charlie died in 1969 following an extended illness at the age of 84.
Fay BainterBirth date: 7 December 1893, Los Angeles, California, USADescription: Fay Bainter's career began as a child performer in 1898. For some time, she was a member of the traveling cast of the Morosco Stock Company in Los Angeles. In 1912, she made her Broadway debut in 'The Rose of Panama', but this and her subsequent play 'The Bridal Path' (1913), were conspicuous failures. She continued in stock and, after forming an association with David Belasco, took another swing at Broadway. She had her first hit with a dynamic performance, which established her as major theatrical star, as Ming Toy in 'East is West', at the Astor Theatre (1918-1920). Alternating between comedy and melodrama, Fay then shone in 'The Enemy' (1925-26) with Walter Abel and gave an outstanding performance of mid-life crisis as the desperate Fran Dodsworth ('Dodsworth',1934-35), opposite Walter Huston as her husband Sam. Fay never had the chance to recreate her stage role on screen - Ruth Chattertongot the part instead. At the same time, now aged 41, she was offered a role in her first motion picture, This Side of Heaven (1934). Co-starring opposite Lionel Barrymore, this was the first of many thoughtful, understanding wives, aunts and mothers she was to play over the next twenty years.Of stocky built, with expressive eyes and a warm, slightly smoky voice, Fay rarely essayed unsympathetic or hard-boiled characters, with the exception of her Oscar-nominated dowager in The Children's Hour (1961). While not often top-billed, her name remained consistently high in the list of credits throughout her career. Critics applauded her sterling performances in productions like Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) and Quality Street (1937), as Katharine Hepburn's excitable spinster sister. Fay won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for the movie Jezebel (1938). As Bette Davis' stern, reproving Aunt Belle, she excelled in a somewhat meatier role than the genteel or fluttery ladies she had previously been engaged to portray. That same year, she was also nominated (as Best Actress) for her housekeeper, Hannah Parmalee, in White Banners (1938), but lost to Bette Davis. Fay enhanced many more films with her presence during the 1940's, notably as Mrs. Elvira Wiggs, in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1942), Merle Oberon's eccentric aunt from the bayou in Dark Waters (1944) and Danny Kaye's mother in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). From the 1950's, she alternated stage with acting on television. Her last role of note was as Mary Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's 'Long Day's Journey into Night', on tour with the National Company in 1958.
Donald MeekBirth date: 14 July 1878, Glasgow, Scotland, UKDescription: On British and Australian stage before coming to the USA in 1912, he played more than 800 roles, starting with Sir Henry Irving at age 8. He first appeared in the US at Castle Square Theatre, Boston, in 1912, and made his New York debut in 1917 in "Going Up".
Frank McHughBirth date: 23 May 1898, Homestead, Pennsylvania, USADescription: The parents of Frank McHugh ran their own stock company and he was on the stage as a child. When he was 10 he was part of an act that include his brother Matt McHugh and sister Kitty McHugh. After vaudeville and other stock companies, Frank debuted on Broadway "The Fall Guy" (1925). In 1930 he was hired at Warner Brothers as a contract player. Frank would usually play the sidekick to the lead actor and would provide the comedy relief in tense situations - if it were called for. With his nervous laugh and hangdog look, he appeared in over 90 movies in the first dozen years he worked at Warners. He would also appear with another very busy character actor, Allen Jenkins, in a dozen or so films. McHugh would be a mechanic, a song plugger, a pilot, a baseball player or a newspaperman, and would either be married or get the girl only if the girl was not the one the hero was interested in. Over the years he would work with most of the stars that Warners employed. By the early 1950s his film career started winding down. From 1964 to 1965 he played the role of Willis Walter on The Bing Crosby Show (1964).
Percy KilbrideBirth date: 16 July 1888, San Francisco, California, USADescription: He had a long career in theater before making movies, playing hundreds of roles, mostly rustic bumpkins, in stage and stock. His film career included two isolated early films: White Woman (1933) and Soak the Rich (1936). It began in earnest with the part of Orion Peabody in the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn wartime drama Keeper of the Flame (1942); Kilbride was already fifty-four by then. The movie public really came to recognize him when he played the part of Pa Kettle (against Marjorie Main's Ma) in The Egg and I (1947), a role he reprised for seven more "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies, the last of which, and the last of his career, was in 1955.
Harry MorganBirth date: 10 April 1915, Detroit, Michigan, USADescription: Harry Morgan was a prolific character actor who starred in over 100 films and was a stage performer. Known to a younger generation of fans as "Col. Sherman T. Potter" on M*A*S*H (1972). Also known for his commanding personality throughout his career, he tackled movies and television in a way no other actor would do it.Born Harry Bratsberg in Detroit, Michigan, to parents Henry Bratsberg, who immigrated from Norway, who was a mechanic, and Anna Olsen, a housewife who immigrated from Sweden. After graduating from Muskegon High School in Muskegon, Michigan, he took on a job as a salesman, before becoming a successful actor.In the many films, several of his most memorable movies, he appeared in were: in one of his firsts, The Omaha Trail (1942), in the next quarter of a century, he would also appear in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Wing and a Prayer (1944), State Fair (1945), Dragonwyck (1946), All My Sons (1948), Red Light (1949), Outside the Wall (1950), Dark City (1950) where he met future Dragnet 1967 (1967) co-star Jack Webb, who would be best friends until Webb's death, late in 1982, along with Appointment with Danger (1951). His films credits also include: High Noon (1952), The Glenn Miller Story (1954), Strategic Air Command (1955), among many others. He also co-starred with James Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) and its sequel Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971).On television, he is fondly remembered as Spring Byington's jokingly, henpecked neighbor, "Pete Porter" on December Bride (1954), where he became the show's scene-stealer. It was also based on a popular radio show that it transferred into television. The show was an immediate success to viewers, which led him into starring his own short-lived spin-off series, Pete and Gladys (1960), which co-starred Cara Williams, who met Morgan in the movie, The Saxon Charm (1948).Morgan began his eight-year association with old friend, Jack Webb, and Universal, starting with Dragnet 1967 (1967), which he played Off. Bill Gannon. For the second time, like December Bride (1954) before this, it was an immediate hit, where it tackled a lot of topics. Dragnet was canceled in 1970, after a 4-season run, due to Morgan's best friend and co-star (Jack Webb) leaving the show to continue producing other shows, such as: Adam-12 (1968) and Emergency! (1972). Morgan would later work with Webb in both short-lived series, The D.A. (1971), opposite Robert Conrad and Hec Ramsey (1972), opposite Richard Boone. After those roles, Morgan ended his contract with both Universal and Mark VII, to sign with 20th Century Fox.Morgan's biggest role was that of a tough-talking, commanding, fun-loving, serious Army Officer, "Col. Sherman T. Potter" on M*A*S*H (1972), when he replaced McLean Stevenson, who left the show to unsuccessfully star in his own sitcom. For the third time, the show was still a hit with fans, and at 60, he was nominated for Emmies nine times and won his first and only Emmy in 1980, for Outstanding Supporting Actor. By 1983, M*A*S*H's series was getting very expensive, as well as with the cast, hence, CBS reduced it to 16 episodes. Despite M*A*S*H's finale in 1983, Morgan went on to star in a short-lived spin-off series After MASH (1983), co-starring Jamie Farr and William Christopher, from the original M*A*S*H (1972) series, without series' star Alan Alda.He also co-starred in 2 more short-lived series, as he was over 70, beginning with Blacke's Magic (1986) with Hal Linden and his final role with You Can't Take It with You (1987). That same year, he reprised his role, for a second time as "Off. Bill Gannon" in the film, Dragnet (1987), which starred Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. Then, he guest-starred in several shows such as: The Twilight Zone (1985), Renegade (1992), The Jeff Foxworthy Show (1995), for the third time, he also reprised his "Off. Bill Gannon" role, supplying his voice on The Simpsons (1989). Towards the end of his acting career, as he reached 80, he had a recurring role as the older college professor on 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996), opposite John Lithgow. Afterwards, he retired from show business and lived with his family. Harry Morgan died on December 7, 2011, at age 96. On confirming his death, his son Charles, said that he had been recently treated for pneumonia. Morgan was also one of the oldest living Hollywood male actors.
Jane NighBirth date: 25 February 1925, Hollywood, California, USADescription: Jane Nigh was born on February 25, 1925 in Hollywood, California, USA as Bonnie Lenora Nigh. She was an actress, known for Big Town (1950), State Fair (1945) and Whistle Stop (1946). She was married to Norman Davidson Jr., John E. Baker and Victor Cutler. She died on October 5, 1993 in Bakersfield, California.
William MarshallBirth date: 12 October 1917, Chicago, Illinois, USADescription: William Marshall was born on October 12, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Gerard William Marshall. He was an actor, known for State Fair (1945), Blackmail (1947) and Calendar Girl (1947). He was married to Corinne Aboyneau, Ginger Rogers, Micheline Presle and Michèle Morgan. He died on June 8, 1994 in Paris, France.
Phil BrownBirth date: 30 April 1916, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USADescription: Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Phil Brown was the son of a doctor whose work took the family all around the country. After majoring in dramatics at Stanford University, Brown played some of his earliest stage roles as part of New York's Group Theatre. When it folded, he and other Group Theatre vets headed to Hollywood, where Brown worked in motion pictures and helped found the fabled Actors' Laboratory. His association with the Lab came back to haunt him later in the decade, when its members fell under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and Brown was eventually compelled to relocate with his family to England, UK. Overseas he was able to resume acting on stage, TV and films; he also directed for the stage and TV. He returned to the U.S. in the 1990s and made the rounds of autograph shows.
Directors of "State Fair"
Walter LangBirth date: 10 August 1896, Memphis, Tennessee, USADescription: Walter Lang entered the film industry in New York when he got a job as a clerk in the office of a film production company. He worked his way up to ...
Creators of "State Fair"
Oscar Hammerstein IIBirth date: 12 July 1895, New York City, New York, USADescription: Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City, New York, USA as Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein. He was married to Dorothy ...
Philip StongBirth date: 27 January 1899, Keosauqua, Iowa, USADescription: false