State Fair Walter Lang ; Jose Ferrer

What's the only thing worse than a disc of State Fair? A disc of State Fair played twice. The Frake family's march to glory gets an airing with both 1945 and 1962 versions, and predictably, neither one of them are even close to bearable, though the early version is the one you should choose if there's a gun to your head. That one has Jeanne Crain and Dick Haymes as the moon-eyed teenagers who lose their heads over a journalist and a singer, respectively, while mom and dad worry about prize hogs and brandy-soaked mincemeat. And while the whole thing cloys intensely you have to admit there's a diabolical sincerity to the deployment of Rodgers and Hammerstein's painful songs. One could still sentimentalise rural life in 1945 without looking ridiculous, and the movie pulls off the con — not that I was putting my money down in the first place. By comparison, the later version with Pat Boone and Pamela Tiffin is running on fumes, taking out all of the down-home goodness that was the first film's raison d'etre and replacing it with gaudy, ultra-modern hokum that plays like a Douglas Sirk film without the irony. There's a car-race added and some ass-shaking by Ann-Margret, but to no discernable effect beyond embarrassment. Either way, you'll be tearing your hair out, but at least the first film seems to believe its lies. Disc one features a commentary by scholar Richard Barrios and Tom Briggs (the author of the Broadway version), an interesting featurette on all stage and screen incarnations of the musical, still galleries and sing-along karaoke subtitles. Disc two features a commentary with Boone, an excerpt from a Rodgers and Hammerstein TV tribute with Mary Martin, and the Walton-esque '70s State Fair TV pilot. (Fox)