Things don’t get much more anodyne than this storyline, showcasing an impossibly idealized family and their trials of love and prize pigs as they travel to the eponymous event. This is strictly for the nostalgic and pure fans of Rodgers and Hammerstein (the songs generally are not as culturally engrained as those of Oklahoma!). There are two versions of the film here, and the 1945 take is easily the better of the two. The 1962 remake (and the third film by this name, a non-musical ver…ion having appeared in 1933) has Pat Boone in the lead (never a good sign) and is even more plastic. This version does, however, have Ann-Margaret pulling a bit of a show-stopper with her dance number.
Disc 1 has the 1945 disc, and the sound is in either 2.0 stereo or the original mono. The stereo mix is pretty solid. There is a little bit of odd fading in and out of music in the rear speakers, but generally the sound is clean, with minimal distortion and little by way of inappropriate surround. Disc 2 has a 4.0 track, but there is no surround presence here at all, so one wonders why they bothered.
Both movies look very good. The colours are strong (and there is very little fluctuation in the case of the older film), the prints are in excellent shape, and there is very little grain. There are no edge enhancement problems. The images are sharp, too.
The commentary on the 1945 version is by historians Richard Barrios and Tom Briggs, who do a good job of covering the making of the film. More personal memories are contained in Pat Boone’s track on Disc 2, where he waxes on about the dearth of new family movies, and pauses for minutes at a time (the menu has the decency to warn viewers about this). Disc 1 also has a good making-of featurette, three still galleries (“Set Design and Wardrobe,” “Behind-the-Scenes Photos” and “Lobby Cards and Posters”), the theatrical trailer, a singalong option, and a jump-to-the-song chapter selection option. Disc 2 has a 1954 TV performance of one of the songs, the 1962 trailer, and the 1974 TV pilot. A pretty fair package, all in all. The menu’s main screen and transitions are animated and scored. The secondary screens are scored.
A pretty complete package, minus the 1933 film. So if you like State Fair, you’ll like this release.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Making-of Featurette
- Still Galleries
- Singalong Karaoke Subtitles
- 1954 Television Excerpt
- Television Pilot
- Theatrical Trailers