Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hidden Gem: State Fair (1962)

Our state fair, is the best state fair in our state.

I have always been fascinated by the way people watch films, especially how they chose the films they see. A person's past repertoire of films seen says a lot about who they are and what motivates them. I like to think that the body of films I've seen shows that I'm adventurous, curious, open-minded, passionate and emotionally-driven. It also demonstrates how I tend to form attachments, especially to particular persons.

State Fair (1962) is one of many remakes of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The film is difficult to find. It is not often shown on TV and it's not available on it's own DVD. Rather, it lives in the bonus materials of it's more popular sibling, the 1945 version. You wouldn't think to look for it there, if you were searching for it. And why would you be searching for it anyways?

I found it because I was actively searching for it as one of the many Bobby Darin films I wanted to see (because I Heart Bobby Darin!). I watched it first, before seeing the 1945 version, and was pleasantly surprised. I'm not usually one for musicals but there was something light and refreshingly bouyant about this film. My favorite part was the feeling I had of having unearthed a hidden gem...

... and then came the domino-effect. Watching this film became a catalyst for watching many more. I loved the music in this film, so I watched the 1945 version to get another dose of it. Then I found that I really enjoyed Dana Andrews in that film, and maybe I should watch another one of his. Oh, and look at that. Alice Faye made her film comeback with State Fair (1962) , her last film after Fallen Angel (1945), which also stars Dana Andrews, so I saw that. Then there was Pamela Tiffin, who I found pleasantly annoying as Bobby Darin's love interest. Then I stumble upon her film Come Fly with Me (1963), a nice '60s romantic comedy, which introduced me to Dolores Hart, who was in another film Where the Boys Are (1960), which of course I had to see. Also, State Fair (1962) was my first introduction to Ann-Margret, and I just had to see another of her films, so I saw Made in Paris (1966). This made me realize, that the '60s weren't so bad and that actually I really love '60s romantic/sex comedies and wanted to watch more of those films and so on and so forth. I could go on (because it did go on from there) but I think you get the drift.

This is very representative of my viewing pattern. I watch one film, I enjoy it, I can't get enough, so I watch a lot more semi-related films. It's a wonder I find time to do anything else. I do however, highly recommend watching this film, if you haven't already. Ignore moral of the story, which is out-dated and quite boring, and enjoy it as a fun and light musical. And who knows, maybe you'll go on a fun-filled film journey afterwards like I did.


  1. I think you've convinced me to see this one!

    Have you ever seen the 1933 "State Fair"? That one is absolutely magnificent, from what I remember (I saw it as a youngster, about 18 years ago, on PBS)... Great rural Depressiana--with Will Rogers, Janet Gaynor and Lew Ayres sharing the spotlight... Don't understand at all why it isn't available on DVD!


  2. Oh I've been meaning to watch it. I've been saving it to be my first Will Rogers film. But I can't seem to find it anywhere, like you say.


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