State Fair (1945)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1945|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Walter Lang|
Twentieth Century Fox
Oscar Hammerstein II
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Highlights Coca-Cola|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The main story arc revolves around Margy (Jeanne Crain) and Wayne Frake (Dick Haymes), siblings who find love and sadness at the Iowa State Fair. Margy appears to be bored with life and is looking for love, while brother Wayne is snubbed by his girl and goes to the fair with only an interest in paying back a bad experience the year before. Both find unexpected love (as usual the pace of the romance in these musicals is light speed) in the form of reporter Pat Gilbert (Dana Andrews) and sultry singer Emily Edwards (Vivian Blaine). The side story involves the fun old parents, Abel and Melissa Frake, played nicely by Charles Winninger and Faye Bainter, and their attempts at winning prizes at the fair.
I found the music in State Fair to be far more catchy than both South Pacific and Carousel. It did not contain pointless music and dance sequences that I felt the other two had. The songs really did enhance the story, which is quite simple in itself. The use of colour throughout seems to brighten the whole mood of the movie. Some people believe State Fair to be the weakest of the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, but I disagree and would give that distinction to Carousel.
The movie is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. I could not detect any use of Pan&Scan techniques, and the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 explains why.
Sharpness levels throughout are fairly good, although there are a couple of scenes that looked a little overly soft and fuzzy. There really aren't a lot of blacks and dark colours in this movie, but those that do occur have no real problems with black levels. There are only a handful of darkly lit scenes, and it is expected that a film of this age wouldn't have sensational shadow detail. This doesn't really present a problem with this transfer, though, and the dark scenes are handled well enough. Grain is more of a problem being visible throughout the movie. Stark backgrounds such as the sky, meadows, and various white items such as kitchenware reveal the grain present.
Colours are very vibrant in this transfer, but suffer from some colour bleed. In particular, the opening credit sequence uses colours very well with deep reds and bright blues, but the colour from the credit text bleeds into the background. Skin tones were pretty much normal, but with the occasional girl looking like she had a little too much make-up. Overall, the colour usage is bright and fits in well with the feel-good nature of the movie.
As expected of a film this age, film artefacts are plentiful, but for the most part their prevalence is quite acceptable for a movie going on almost 50 years. Black and white flecks appear on a regular basis, with occasions of severe blizzard type outbreaks such as at 9:56 in the kitchen. The odd white line down the frame also appears now and again and can be distracting. Aliasing is not a problem even though the sharpness is generally quite good. It is a relief to note that very little edge enhancement is detectable.
English subtitles are provided and are generally accurate.
This is a single sided, single layered disc.
Dialogue was usually clear throughout the movie, but sometimes seemed a little muffled (a trait throughout the transfer). There were no noticeable audio synchronisation issues. The good (if not over-the-top) stereo separation within other recent Rogers and Hammerstein DVD releases is not apparent in this transfer.
The music is generally good, although on occasions sounds slightly muffled such as during the opening credit sequence and music montage. It would have been nice if the score was mixed into the surrounds a little to open up the soundstage a bit. The music here I feel is much better than other recent releases that I have reviewed such as South Pacific and Carousel, although still does not rank up there with Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music.
The soundstage is very much frontal, with no detectable surround usage at all. State Fair has missed out on the 5.1 remixing that some of the other Rogers and Hammerstein musicals have been given, such as South Pacific.
The subwoofer also has an easy night with no activity at all.
|Surround Channel Use|
A very good trailer that introduces each of the new songs in a nice manner.
Cast & Crew
This provides various notes about the background of the cast and crew. Mildly interesting, with nice clear text.
This provides some information about the development of the story and the movie adaptation of the novel by Phillip Strong.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
After being less than impressed with the other Rogers and Hammerstein movies that I have recently reviewed, I was happy to enjoy State Fair as much as I did. It is certainly not nearly as boring as Carousel, and has some very good music and songs. If you are a Rogers and Hammerstein fan, this should be on your list.
The video quality is satisfactory for its age.
The audio quality is a little disappointing. Some surround and subwoofer use would have been desirable.
The extras are nothing particularly memorable.
|DVD||Onkyo DV-SP500, using Component output|
|Display||RK-32HDP81 HDTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||Kef KHT 2005 5.1 Home Theatre System|