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The Farmer Takes a Wife

The Farmer Takes a Wife(1953)

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According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Twentieth Century-Fox first considered remaking its 1935 production of The Farmer Takes a Wife, which was directed by Victor Fleming and starred Janet Gaynor and Henry Fonda, in 1944 in a version to be produced by Robert Bassler and star Lon McCallister and Jeanne Crain. (See entry in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 for information about the 1935 production.) The project was shelved until August 1951, when it was announced that Mitzi Gaynor would be the star of a musical remake of the story. In November 1951, Los Angeles Times reported that Victor Mature would be starring in the film, but on April 28, 1952, Hollywood Reporter noted that Mature's casting in Something for the Birds (see below) prevented his appearance in The Farmer Takes a Wife. The same Hollywood Reporter news item announced that James Arness was being considered for a role, but he does not appear in the completed picture.
       Hollywood Reporter news items include George Magrill, Ruth Peppel, Andrew Jackson IV, Gloria Gordon and Tim Shamroy, the ten-year-old son of cinematographer Leon Shamroy, in the cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Although a July 10, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Casey Adams would "audition" songs for the picture, the extent of his contribution to the completed film, if any, has not been determined.
       According to the pressbook, a dance number featuring Betty Grable in a dream sequence, which consisted of "an entire reel in length," was filmed over the course of a week, after taking a month to rehearse. The production number was dropped before the film's release, however. As noted in Hollywood Reporter news items and studio publicity, the opening title cards include drawings by noted primitives painter Albert J. Kramer, which depict the Erie Canal during different seasons. The ending production number, featuring the double wedding ceremony, was styled by art director Addison Hehr to resemble Grant Wood's painting "Farm House."
       The Farmer Takes a Wife marked the screen debut of actress Kathleen Crowley and was also the last major starring vehicle for Betty Grable, who ended her longterm contract with Twentieth Century-Fox after her next picture, How to Marry a Millionaire, in which she co-starred with Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall (see below).