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William A. Seiter
Charming love story set on the Erie Canal in the mid-19th Century. A farmer works on the canal to earn money to buy a farm. He meets a cook on a canal boat, but she can't even consider leaving the exciting life on the canal for a banal one on a farm...Written by
Ed Lorusso <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The map shown at the beginning of the movie contains several errors for the 1850s, including showing West Virginia as a separate state. The second map shows an arrangement of European states that would not be valid until 1871. See more »
In 1853 upstate New York, sweet 'n' bossy Janet Gaynor (as Molly Larkins) admires boatmen laboring along the Erie Canal, but frowns upon railroad-loving farmers like handsome Henry Fonda (as Dan Harrow), who only wants to work on the canal until he can buy a farm. Despite their differences, Mr. Fonda and Ms. Gaynor are obviously smitten with each other. Fonda wants Gaynor to cook for him, rather than boozy boating rival Charles Bickford (as Jotham Klore). But, Gaynor wants Fonda show he can be strong 'n' rough.
The crew at Fox created Award-worthy sets and locations for this film, which photographer Ernest Palmer and director Victor Fleming display beautifully. More about gender roles than farm and boatmen, the story is very silly. Yet, Gaynor elevates it by using cooking as a metaphor for sex. She and Fonda, reprising his stage success as a debut film appearance, are a radiant couple. And, the supporting cast is excellent. Watch out for veteran actor Robert Warwick (as Junius Brutus Booth) and his politically-interested young son.
******* The Farmer Takes a Wife (8/2/35) Victor Fleming ~ Janet Gaynor, Henry Fonda, Charles Bickford, Slim Summerville
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