The Farmer Takes a Wife

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Henry Fonda and Janet Gaynor
Poster from the Federal Theatre Project, Work Projects Administration, production 1938

The Farmer Takes a Wife is a 1934 play by Frank B. Elser and Marc Connelly based on the novel Rome Haul by Walter D. Edmonds. It was well-received upon its opening night on Broadway on October 30, 1934 at the 46th Street Theatre. The production was directed by Marc Connelly, used set designs by Donald Oenslager, and starred Henry Fonda as Dan Harrow and June Walker as Molly Larkins.

Film adaptations[edit]

The play spawned two film adaptations. The first, a 1935 comedy film, was directed by Victor Fleming, starred Janet Gaynor, and marked the Hollywood debut of Henry Fonda. Dan Harrow (Henry Fonda) works along the Erie Canal during the mid-19th century to raise money to buy a farm. While working, he meets Molly Larkins, a beautiful canal boat cook (Janet Gaynor). Although Harrow wants to marry Larkins, she's apprehensive about leaving the exciting canal life for one of a farmer's wife.

A 1953 musical remake used a score by Harold Arlen and Cyril J. Mockridge. The picture was directed by Henry Levin and starred Betty Grable, Dale Robertson, Eddie Foy, Jr., and Thelma Ritter.

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