Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||José Ferrer|
|Produced by||Charles Brackett|
|Screenplay by||Richard L. Breen|
Oscar Hammerstein II
|Based on||State Fair |
by Oscar Hammerstein II
by Sonya Levien
by Phil Stong
|Music by||Richard Rodgers|
|Cinematography||William C. Mellor|
|Edited by||David Bretherton|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$3.5 million (rentals)|
State Fair is a 1962 American musical film directed by José Ferrer and starring Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, Ann-Margret, Tom Ewell, Pamela Tiffin and Alice Faye. A remake of the 1933 film State Fair and the 1945 State Fair films, it was considered to be a financially and critically unsuccessful film. Richard Rodgers wrote additional songs, both music and lyrics, for this 1962 version of the novel to film adaptation. His partner, Oscar Hammerstein, had died in 1960.
While the 1933 and 1945 versions were set at the Iowa State Fair, this 1962 version was set in Texas (the family drives through Dallas where the State Fair of Texas is held). It was filmed on soundstages at Twentieth Century Fox in California, at various locations in Texas,  at Mooney's Grove park in Visalia, California, and the climactic speedway sequence was filmed on location at the Oklahoma State Fair Raceway in Oklahoma City where the Oklahoma State Fair is held.
The novel State Fair would be dramatized twice more following the 1962 film. The first State Fair stage musical, which utilized a variety of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs (many originally written for projects not related to their State Fair film), was first produced in 1969. A revised version of this stage musical was produced in the 1990s and eventually played on Broadway. A non-musical version of State Fair was filmed for television in 1976.
Buddy Adler head of production of Fox announced the film in January 1960 saying Rodgers and Hammerstein would write new songs for it. Charles Brackett was assigned the job of producing and Walter Lang would direct. It would be the third version of the film done by Fox. Adler said he hoped the film would be ready by Christmas and that it would not be a musical but "it will have plenty of songs from Rogers and Hammerstein."
Brackett called it "a beautiful property. It's a story about people with simple projects with which the audience can get really involved - the man who wants his boy to get a prize, the woman interested in her mincemeat, the girl who wants adventure and finds a fast young man at the fair."
Production was delayed when Adler died in July of 1960. Hammerstein died the following month, at which point Rodgers decided to write the lyrics himself.
The female lead was given to Ann Margret, who was under contract to 20th Century Fox. They had loaned her to Paramount to make her first film, Pocketful of Miracles and this would be her second.
Ann-Margret made the film under an old commitment to Fox. She was only paid $500 a week for three months.
The film was shot in September and October 1961 at the Texas State Fair Grounds and at the Oklahoma City State Fair Grounds.
Reviewing the film, Diabolique magazine later said:
It just doesn't work. It's not the material. Sure, it's cheesy, but The Sound of Music (1965) was cheesy and that came along three years later. I feel the main problem is too many key people were miscast. Jose Ferrer was not the right director and most of the cast fall short of their 1945 counterparts. Tom Ewell seems too urban to play "paw" compared to Charles Winninger. Pamela Tiffin looks like an urban ditz rather than a sweet naive country girl like Jeanne Crain. Bobby Darin (another pop star turned actor) comes across as sleazy rather than sharp like Dana Andrews. Ann-Margret was always better as good girls who looked as though they wanted to be naughty (Viva Las Vegas, Bye Bye Birdie) rather than straight-out naughty girls. Alice Faye looks like Alice Faye coming out of retirement (it was her last film) whereas Fay Bainter felt like a character. The one exception is Pat Boone who is far better than Dick Haymes, but he can't save things.