Author Topic: It Happened One Night (1934)  (Read 1681 times)

Offline Antares

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It Happened One Night (1934)
« on: December 08, 2009, 12:43:06 AM »
It Happened One Night

Year: 1934
Film Studio: Columbia Pictures
Genre: Romance, Classic, Comedy
Length: 105 Min.

Frank Capra (1897)

Robert Riskin (1897)...Screenplay
Samuel Hopkins Adams (1871)...Short Story

Frank Capra (1897)

Joseph Walker (1892)

Howard Jackson (1900)...Composer

Clark Gable (1901) as Peter
Claudette Colbert (1903) as Ellie
Walter Connolly (1887) as Andrews
Roscoe Karns (1891) as Shapeley
Jameson Thomas (1888) as Westley
Alan Hale (1892) as Danker
Arthur Hoyt (1873) as Zeke
Blanche Friderici (1878) as Zeke's Wife

       The first, and in my opinion, the best ‘road’ picture ever made. Director Frank Capra was just embarking on a string of successful features that would dominate the Academy Awards for the next 6 years. Capra had honed his skills in the silent era, most prominently as the producer and director of Harry Langdon’s best comedies. After a professional falling out with the temperamental vaudevillian, he pursued his own directorial interests and by 1934 had fashioned a budding resume of reputable films. It Happened One Night would be his first true success and would bring Capra the clout needed to make films that showcased his artistic vision.

       Films about headstrong women were all the rage in the Depression era thirties and Capra would take the idea of a spoiled and naïve heiress who takes to the road in protest of her father’s denial of betrothal to a jet-setting playboy, and pair her with a street savvy news reporter who protects and eventually falls in love with her. Claudette Colbert stars as Ellie Andrews, the independent-minded ingénue who casts herself to the winds of fate by boarding a bus to New York City, in hopes of eloping with her fiancé. Like a little lamb lost in the woods, she experiences the harsh realities of life that until this time, her father had protected her from.  Unknown to her at this time is that her knight in shining armor is seated right beside her, and although they are at odds with each other in the beginning, their relationship will blossom into an everlasting one.

       Peter Warne (Clark Gable) has just been fired from his newspaper job, although in his eyes he has resigned. As he boards the same bus back to New York, he realizes that a little bit of treasure has fallen into his lap. Ellie’s father has offered a handsome reward for any information as to the whereabouts of his daughter and Peter agrees to ‘help’ her make it to New York unabated. Over the course of the journey, his hard-boiled veneer softens and he decides to really help her make it back to her fiancé, even though he has since fallen in love with Ellie. Their comedic mishaps and misfortunes along the way set the stage for the finale in the Big Apple, as both are forced to contend with the fact they both love each other.

        Gable, who was on loan-out from MGM, did not want to make this film. He felt the screenplay was weak and that the film would not be successful. How wrong he was! Not only did it win an Academy Award for Best Picture, but It Happened One Night also took home statues for Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor. Although nominated many times in succeeding years, this would be the only time Mr. Gable would win in his thirty-plus year career.

        One interesting bit of trivia, Friz Freleng, the animation director at Warner Bros., based the character of Bugs Bunny on Gables wise-cracking, carrot chomping Peter Warne.

Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 12:04:04 AM by Antares »


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Re: It Happened One Night (1934)
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2009, 01:53:00 AM »
I love how sometimes the best movies come about by accident. I reviewed this for an Oscar marathon we did last year and I remember being fascinated by how Claudette Colbert was apparently very unreasonable and probably forced them into making it as quickly as possible, thereby creating the screwball comedy. All the more credit for Capra making it under such conditions too. I didn't know Gable was reluctant too! Sounds like no-one believed in it.