The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935)

The Farmer Takes a Wife
Henry Fonda and Janet Gaynor

'The Farmer Takes a Wife' is a romantic comedy movie made in 1935, directed by Victor Fleming and starring Janet Gaynor, Henry Fonda and Charles Bickford. It is based on the 1934 Broadway play of the same name by Marc Connelly and Frank B. Elser. Henry Fonda plays the farmer in both productions. Margaret Hamilton also reprised her Broadway role playing Lucy Gurget.


The action takes place in New York State in the mid nineteenth century. It is the pre-railroad era and the Erie Canal is by far the most important transportation route through the area. Henry Fonda plays Dan Harrow, a would-be farmer seeking to earn money on the canal to buy a farm. He meets Molly Larkin, played by Janet Gaynor, a high spirited girl who works as a cook on a canal boat for Jotham Klore, played by Charles Bickford, a bully and a fighter. The stage is set for a showdown between good and evil.


Fox was unique amongst the large studios in that many of their films in the 1930s deliberately targeted rural and small town cinema-goers.

The movie was filmed in and around the Sierra Nevada Range near Sonoma, California.

First Gary Cooper, then Joel McCrae were approached to play Dan Harrow before Henry Fonda was given his big chance.

Spencer Tracy was the first choice for Jotham Klore, the villain, but did not like the role and was replaced by Charles Bickford.

Victor Fleming was a top director who was consistently able to get good honest performances from his actors. It is no coincidence that towards the end of the 1930s he oversaw two of the most remarkable and memorable movies that Hollywood had ever seen: 'Gone with the Wind' and 'The Wizard of Oz'

Main Cast

Janet Gaynor ... Molly Larkins
Henry Fonda ... Dan Harrow
Charles Bickford ... Jotham Klore
Slim Summerville ... Fortune Friendly
Andy Devine ... Elmer Otway
Roger Imhof ... Samson 'Sam' Weaver
Jane Withers ... Della
Margaret Hamilton ... Lucy Gurget
Sig Ruman ... Blacksmith
John Qualen ... Sol Tinker
Kitty Kelly ... Ivy
Robert Gleckler ... Fisher
Erville Alderson ... Wagon Father (uncredited)
Philip Cooper ... John Wilkes Booth (uncredited)
Gabby Hayes ... Luc (uncredited)
J.M. Kerrigan ... Angus (uncredited)
Mitchell Lewis ... Boatman in Office (uncredited)
Robert Warwick ... Junius Brutus Booth (uncredited)


Director ... Victor Fleming
Producer ... Winfield R. Sheehan
Screenplay ... Edwin J. Burke, Marc Connelly, Frank B. Elser
Based on ... The Farmer Takes a Wife by Marc Connelly and Frank B. Elser
Music ... Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography ... Ernest Palmer
Production Company ... Fox Film Corporation
Distribution Company ... 20th Century-Fox Release date ... June 30, 1948
Running time ... 116 minutes
Adapted by ... Robert Harari
Cinematography ... Charles Lang
Distribution Company ... Paramount Pictures
Release date ... August 2, 1935
Running time ... 91 minutes

Academy Awards

No Nominations:


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