Starring Janet Gaynor, Will Rogers, Lew Ayres, Sally Eilers, Norman
Foster, Louise Dresser, Frank Craven, Victor Jory
Directed by Henry King
Runtime: 97 min.
Print Quality: B
The 1933 State Fair was the first of three film versions of the Phillip Stong
bestseller. Some consider it the best of the three because of its stricter
adherence to the source material and the presence of star Will Rogers.
Rogers plays Abel Frake, patriarch of a family whose individual members
are affected by the upcoming Iowa State Fair in various fascinating ways.
Abel hopes to enter his prize hog Blue Boy and win the blue ribbon. His
wife Melissa (Louise Dresser) wants to enter her mincemeat in a food
competition, his son Wayne (Norman Foster) wants to get even with a
carnival sharpster who'd outsmarted him during the last state fair, and
daughter Margery (Janet Gaynor) just wants to get out of the house for a
little fun. The parents win their prizes (though it looks for a while that
Blue Boy will succumb to a serious illness) the children have brief
romances (one happy, one cautionary), and everyone goes home a little
wiser for the experience. Footnote: Fox studios offered to butcher Blue
Boy and sell his meat to Will Rogers, but Rogers declined, noting that he
wouldn't feel right eating his costar.