State Fair (1933): Henry King’s Best Picture Nominee, Starring Will Rogers and Janet Gaynor

The first of three screen versions of Phil Stong’s bucolic novel, “State Fair” was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and was extremely popular with audiences in the early years of the Depression.

The plot is simple but endearing: A farm family prepares for the annual state fair with all the melodrama and commotion involved.

Henry King directs in a straightforward manner that serves well the text and the actors.

The two leads, Will Rogers and Janet Gaynor, were at the peak of their careers at the time.  But the movie is much more than just a Rogers star vehicle.

See reviews of the 1945 and 1962 versions, which were both musicals.

Oscar Context

“Cavalcade” won the Best Picture Oscar over nine other pictures, “A Farewell to Arms,” “Forty-Second Street,” “I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang,”  “Lady for a Day,” “Little Women,” and “The Private Life of King Henry VIII,” “She Done Him Wrong,” “Smiling Through,” and “State Fair.”