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STATE FAIR (1933)- lovely movie


roverrocks
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Viewed STATE FAIR (1933) today for the first time. Wonderful movie and slice of life from rural America during the Depression Days. Well acted with good stories of the lives and loves centered around one farm family and their exciting few days of fair competition and youthful first loves at the annual State Fair. Much better than later STATE FAIR remakes IMO. Terrific cast (including some scene stealing hogs). One film I want to view again.

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This is an ensemble piece, so Will Rogers must share screen time not only with top-billed Janet Gaynor as the daughter but also future director Norman Foster as the son (for those who care, Foster is OK but his slow speaking style and overage juvenile manner probably would've ended up limiting his roles even if he hadn't switched to directing).

 

There was a notable technical moment, where we see and hear the midway barkers telling us it's the last performance of the fair, the last night, last chance, etc... Then we go to the next scene of Janet Gaynor and Des Moines reporter Lew Ayres bittersweetly visiting the isolated spot of their tryst the night before -- and we still hear the barkers' warnings of "last night" and "last chance".

 

A few moments remind us this was made pre-code. Just before the family leaves for the fair, an antsy Gaynor tells Foster, "Haven't you ever felt like going someplace and raising hell?"

 

But the real jaw-droppers come in the relationships between the farm kids and their big city romances. It's clearly implied that Gaynor and Ayres have sex. As far as Foster and carny acrobat Sally Eilers are concerned, it's a lot more than implied: it's even the subject of a joking exchange between Foster, oblivious mother Louise Dresser and a possibly suspicious Rogers.

 

This seems like an odd thing to include in what is presented as a family film, but perhaps the term "family film" meant something different in 1933, and rural audiences weren't quite so naive as we like to think.

 

Another moment near the end gives us an earthiness missing in the squeaky clean musical version. Leaving with the family in their truck the morning after the fair, Rogers tell his hog, "Well Blueboy, you're a prize winner today, and ham tomorrow."

 

This reminder of the reality of farm life also recalls the famous story where somebody asked Rogers if he actually ate the hog after the film wrapped production. Rogers replied, "No, I just couldn't bring myself to eat a fellow actor".

 

60 years later Billy Crystal would steal this line re: the calf in City Slickers.

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Thanks very much for the insightful review, Richard Kimble.

 

That Will Rogers anecdote about not being able to eat a fellow actor, the hog playing Blueboy in State Fair, jolted me a bit, to tell you the truth. The implication is that the hog was slaughtered.

 

Quite frankly, it never occurred to me that that would have happened. Being an actor pig, so to speak, I just assumed he would have lived out his life on a pig farm somewhere without winding up being a part of someone's menu, the fate of 99% of all hogs, I suppose.

 

Aside from someone cracking an obvious joke about that being the price for the hog being such a ham actor, it just seems rather disrespectful to me somehow that an animal bright enough (as bright as a pig can be that is, my understanding being that their intelligence is comparable to that of a dog) to have played Blueboy in State Fair would just wind up in a slaughterhouse afterward.

 

state-fair-norman-foster-will-rogers-193

 

Lucky thing for the various dogs that played Lassie or Rin Tin Tin after they retired that dogs aren't considered a delicacy in North America.

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http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&ved=0CEAQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newspapers.com%2Fnewspage%2F58411252%2F&ei=3WcBU73FOcSuyQGzr4HADw&usg=AFQjCNHPf4y5OeoMIZKfxBmGPczBlVahlw&bvm=bv.61535280,d.aWc

 

 

A little blurb on Blueboy a little way down in this article. As much as I like bacon and ham and pork ribs I do hope Blueboy survived for a better fate as well as his beautiful sow co-star of the movie.

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I wonder how much of his own dialogue they let Will Rogers come in with, if any at all. Much of it sounded a lot like his bent of humor.

 

Like when his wife tells him to "get your mind off that hog", the next thing you see is them looking at a line of scantily clad, gorgeous dancing girls and Rogers admitting, "Mind's off the hog NOW!"

 

Or on the way back home, Rogers telling his son and daughter, "If you two don't think a year moves too fast, wait'll you're old enough to start payin' taxes."

 

All in all, it's a fun movie to watch, as are any of the movies the great humorist had done.

 

Sepiatone

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Didnt catch it this time, but really enjoyed it the first time it was shown about a year ago. Actually liked the story better without the songs. Got a chuckle over the mother talking about the son staying over with his friend and they not getting any sleep!

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