MEET ME AT THE FAIR (1953) C 87m dir: Douglas Sirk
w/Dan Dailey, Diana Lynn, Hugh O'Brien, Carole Mathews, "Scat Man" Crothers, Rhys Williams, Russell Simpson, Franklin Farnum, Roger Moore, Harte Wayne, Chet Allen, "Iron Eyes" Cody
Of note primarily because of being a directorial effort of Douglas Sirk's at Univeral Studios before he went on to the successful melodramas he did for the studio, MEET ME AT THE FAIR is part of the director's trilogy of "little American stories" (which also includes HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL? and TAKE ME TO TOWN). It's a charming film about a traveling medicine man who gets involved with a runaway orphan and the authorities.
From Jon Halliday's Sirk on Sirk :
Sirk: "Irving Wallace wrote the script. He wasn't yet well known, but he was just writing the novel which was to give him a best-seller name. What I had in mind here was another piece of Americana, too: it's a colour picture. It's a story about a boy in an orphanage who gets tied up with a couple of show people, going to fairs. One of them was a Negro, which interested me, and the other guy was Dan Dailey. It's a kind of small town political picture as well: it's about crooked politicians, who are diverting funds from the orphanage, and who are eventually uncovered by the show-business people and the boy.
[Halliday:] "Dan Dailey's a good actor. You don't sound too happy about the film --- what didn't work out?
[Sirk:] "I think the music was not good enough. For such a picture you need a couple of fresh hits. Dan Dailey was good. He even, I thought, had some elements of [George] Sanders's way of acting in his performance: cool, a little cynical, selling his medicines which at the same time caused and cured diarrhoea; he maintained a nice and merry pace throughout the little exciting story by Gene Markey, one of the highest-paid writers in Hollywood. But Dan could do little with the material. I tried at least to do a little more. But I don't have the feeling that I fully succeeded. And then there was the title. I objected to it, mainly because it was, I think, derived from Meet Me in St. Louis , and you were challenged to compare it to that extremely successful, super-A production with Judy Garland and a splendid cast, and splendid music."