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Plot: Ellie Andrews has just tied the knot with society aviator King Westley when she is whisked away to her father's yacht and out of King's clutches. Ellie jumps ship and eventually winds up on a bus headed back to her husband. Reluctantly she must accept the help of out-of- work reporter Peter Warne. Actually, Warne doesn't give her any choice: either she sticks with him until he gets her back to her husband, or he'll blow the whistle on Ellie to her father. Either way, Peter gets what (he thinks!) he wants .... a really juicy newspaper story. Runtime: 105 mins Release Date: 22 Feb 1934
In his autobiography, The Name's Above the Title, Frank Capra said that until It Happened One Night drama had four stock characters, the hero, the heroine, the comedian, and the villain.What Capra did and you might notice he followed that in a whole lot of his films, the characters of hero and comedian are combined. Not completely though because Claudette Colbert gets a few laughs herself, especially with that system all her own. But in doing what he did for Clark Gable's character, Capra created a whole new type of screen comedy, the classic screwball comedy and It Happened One Night <more>
surely set the mold.Capra's autobiography told the story of the making of It Happened One Night which in itself could be a movie. Capra worked for Columbia Pictures which at that time was a minor studio, along the lines of Republic or Monogram. As Capra tells it he had a vision about this story that Samuel Hopkins Adams wrote and persuaded Harry Cohn to buy it. Capra also had a stroke of good luck. Adolph Zukor at Paramount and Louis B. Mayer at MGM were looking to punish a couple of recalcitrant stars, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. The idea was to show these two what it was like to work in a small budget studio without all the perks of Paramount and MGM. In fact the description of Gable arriving to work at Columbia that first day, drunk as a skunk, is priceless. Capra dressed him down good and said that to his credit Gable came to work afterwards and couldn't have been more cooperative.At some point Harry Cohn at Columbia was convinced that maybe Capra had something. He had in fact delivered for Columbia the previous year with Lady for a Day. So the publicity drums were beat.The rest as they say is history. It Happened One Night won the first Oscar grand slam, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. It won the first Oscars Columbia Pictures ever got and lifted it right into the ranks of the major studios. And it set the standard for screwball comedy.The film could never have gotten off the ground were it not for the chemistry of Gable and Colbert. They're together for most of the film so if it doesn't click between the two of them, you have people walking out in droves. Colbert had already played a wide variety of parts at Paramount, ranging from Poppaea and Cleopatra to comedies with Maurice Chevalier like The Big Pond. Gable had played a whole lot of tough guys on both sides of the law at MGM. It Happened One Night showed he had some real comic talent, a flair MGM exploited in his roles from then on in. Gable and Colbert did only one other film together, Boom Town for MGM. You can't get much more different than those two films. Boom Town had a huge MGM budget, Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr as well, and a lot of special effects involving the oil industry and hazards therein. It's also a great film, but it's not a classic like It Happened One Night.
One of the funniest movies in history (by Smells_Like_Cheese)
In my college film class we had begun watching "It happened one night". I was laughing my head off. But of course my professor stops the movie right when it was getting good. After that, I wanted to see this movie so badly. My father lucky enough had the movie. I watched it and it is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Clark Gable is histerical. He really does a great job in the film. I always did prefer the old comedies to today. Do you blame me? If you watch the flick, you will enjoy it. This is one of the first romantic comedies. It'll send all the others to the back <more>
of the bus. I would higly recommend this movie. It's a classic.10/10
Travel back in time, to the days when romantic comedies had not yet evolved into chick flicks (by Spleen)
I was inspired to think of other films with completely mystifying titles. `The Phantom Menace', obviously. Also: `The Shop Around the Corner' around the corner from WHERE? , `The Empire Strikes Back' it doesn't , `The Living Daylights', `True Lies', `Batman Forever', `Species', `The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' ... if anyone has any more suggestions, please send them to me.In this case, it happens over several nights, and I'm not sure which particular night is being referred to. Probably one of the candidate nights is less unobvious than the rest; <more>
so I guess the title isn't COMPLETELY mystifying. But actually, Capra gives us the feeling that everything is up in the air. Everyone knows that the hero and heroine of romantic comedies are bound to get hitched in the end - in most cases it's simply a question of staying awake. But Capra makes us feel the contingency of it all. I, for one, was convinced that right up until the final moment, it could have gone either way. How did Capra manage this? Was it because he was a complete innocent; or was it because he was remarkably sophisticated? I don't suppose it matters: it's results that count.I'm glad to see very little mention among the comments about the sexism of it all. The characters have life; their words have life; and if such art as this could only be produced by a sexist society, it's almost worth creating a sexist society and then dismantling it , in order to get the art. In modern romances I get the feeling that the writers are wearily writing `feisty' lines for the heroine in an attempt to fool feminists, who, by and large, aren't so easily fooled. Claudette Colbert isn't feisty. When she DOES assert her independence, she means it. And, of course, when Clark Gable asserts his dominance, HE means it. You don't get sincerity like this these days. Anyway, the ideology of a film, if there is one, is always beside the point, except inasmuch as the ideology is AESTHETICALLY attractive or unattractive. This is an attractive film. Two real individuals, a real story, some misunderstanding but no tiresome or pointless misunderstanding, constant wit - and, as I expressed amazement at earlier, constant suspense. And if THAT isn't enough to get you to watch it, note that it was released in 1934. The Hayes code didn't come into effect until 1935. Not a moment too late.
Introducing... the Screwball Comedy (by comix-man)
Frank Capra's idealistic outlook on life is evident in his films. From It Happened One Night to It's a Wonderful Life, Capra has always had a tendency to let the little guy rise above it all and beat the odds. It is no small wonder that Capra enjoyed much of his success during the Depression, when movies were used to truly pull an audience out of the despair of the 1930s into a world where anything can happen, where being a nice person is all you need to succeed. While the fact that the country was in the middle of the Depression was not completely ignored, an overly optimistic view <more>
on life was taken to counter the despair of everyday life.There were many points in It Happened One Night where the true state of the country was indicated. Homeless people hitching rides on trains seemed perfectly normal. Rather than regard them with apprehension and pity, you smile and wave at them. Another example is the hostile reaction proprietor Zeke's wife had to the fact that her husband had let Peter and Ellie stay the night with promises of being paid. Upon seeing Peter and Ellie's car missing, they rush to the cottage to see if Peter and Ellie are still there. They cannot afford freeloaders.In another scene, a child's mother has passed out from hunger, because they have no money to buy food. Peter and Ellie have nearly depleted their funds, but decide that the mother and child need money more than they do and give some to them.Despite these instances, the movie was altogether cheerful in its depiction of the world. In the throes of the stock market crash, this movie signaled the birth of the screwball comedy. At a time when the country needed release, they could find that release and laughter in movies like It Happened One Night. Audiences were amused by scenes in the film, such as the segment in which Peter teaches Ellie how to dunk a donut. Or, when forced to share a room, Peter puts a blanket between his and Ellie's beds and calls it the `wall of Jericho,' which is revisited when the walls of Jericho come tumbling down after Peter and Ellie's marriage. Probably the most famous scene in the film is the hitchhiking sequence, which features Peter standing by the roadside trying to thumb a ride unsuccessfully, finally giving up after more than a dozen cars speed by without paying any heed to his attempts. After he gives up, beaten, Ellie simply lifts her skirt above her knee. The first car that passes stops, as we see extreme close-ups of a foot slamming down on the brakes and a hand applying the hand brake.A master in his profession, Capra left his mark on the films he directed. With an almost childlike cheerfulness, he maintains a sense of dignity and class. The viewer is left with a feeling of hope for humankind, even if its only that a person's ideals could be used to make such a film. Capra's films are still regarded as masterpieces. It Happened One Night arguably remains to this day unparalleled in screwball comedies. It was one of many movies made during the Depression, a sometimes sad and even lonely time in our history. It gave its audience a chance to escape and forget their troubles for a few moments in time.9 out of 10 stars
Consider this, "It Happened One Night" was made in 1933 which gives it the distinction 70+ years later of being the oldest film still widely viewed by mainstream audiences. And most of the runner-ups for oldest film are 1930's screwball comedies inspired by the success of this seminal film which made a clean sweep of the 1934 Academy Awards. The genre has held up over the years because these are small human stories with themes that are still relevant. The main reason "It Happened One Night" worked then and still works today is the accidental pairing of Colbert and <more>
Gable, who provide an amazing chemistry under Frank Capra's direction. Columbia Pictures was a small player in the early days of talking pictures and studio head Harry Cohn had difficulty rounding up two major stars to play the leads in this modest budget production. Colbert was not interested in doing another Capra film after a negative experience working for him six years earlier in her silent picture debut. Cohn told Capra: "That French broad likes money" and Capra finally got her on board with an offer of $50,000 double her usual price and a guarantee that production would only last 28 days. Gable was under contract to MGM but had been making trouble for them so as punishment Louis B. Mayer personally loaned him to Columbia for this film.The film had a lot else going for it; a motivated Capra, a great script that would play well with small town America, and a good ensemble of supporting talent. The story concerns a spoiled young heiress Colbert trying to escape the control of her father nicely played by Walter Connelly . Dodging her father's private detective she takes a Miami to New York bus where she meets a recently fired reporter Gable who agrees to help her in exchange for an exclusive story. Cozy quarters and many adventures lead them to change their initial opinions of each other brainless brat and obnoxious bully as an undisclosed affection develops. On the eve of their arrival in New York they try to sort out their feelings for each other.While the script is not really successful in convincingly illustrating the process of their falling in love one minute they are just friends and the next they are in love , Capra is able to sell it with a simple connection process between these two characters which is at work throughout the film. As another reviewer has written: "Far from lovey-dovey, the dialogue is witty, sharp and occasionally heartless. We may know the outcome, but the road to get there is paved with arguments, anger and misunderstandings. It's also clever, funny and a bit risqué for 1934 " . During their three days and nights together Colbert convincingly gives us a character who matures from a spoiled rich girl to a responsible adult, motivated by a desire to improve her companion's opinion of her. Gable shows real star presence, playing a confident, charming, and resourceful gentleman. By the end their sudden love is credible because they have demonstrated that they are both exactly what the other is looking for in a partner.After the Oscar ceremony Capra threw a party where he downed a magnum of champagne and passed out on his front lawn clutching his Best Director Oscar.Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT Columbia, 1934 , directed by Frank Capra, based on a short story "Night Bus" by Samuel Hopkins Adams, ranks one of the best known and popular romantic comedies from the 1930s, thanks to the star chemistry of Clark Gable on loan from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Claudette Colbert on loan from Paramount , with fine direction by Frank Capra, witty screenplay by Robert Risken, and for being the very first motion picture to win all five major Academy Awards, including Best Actor Gable ; Best Actress Colbert ; Best Director Capra ; Best Screenplay and Best Picture. <more>
This might have been an "upset" in 1934, considering other top-rated films and performances of the year, but who would have imagined IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT to still be as entertaining today as it was back in 1934?This now well-known plot that's been remade twice by Columbia as EVE KNEW HER APPLES 1945 with Ann Miller and William Wright; and YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM IT 1956 with June Allyson and Jack Lemmon, opens in a yacht in Miami where Ellen "Ellie" Andrews Claudette Colbert , spoiled daughter of a millionaire Wall Street banker, Alexander Andrews Walter Connolly , who disapproves of her recent marriage to aviator King Westley Jameson Thomas , making arrangements on having it annulled. Following a heated argument with her father, Ellie runs from her state room, jumps overboard and swims to shore. Eluding her father's hired detectives, Ellie, acquiring new clothes, purchases a night bus ticket bound for New York City where she plans to meet Westley. While on board, Ellen encounters Peter Warne Clark Gable , a hot-headed reporter recently fired by his editor, Joe Gordon Charles C. Wilson . With both disliking each other immensely, Warne, having discovered the "spoiled brat's" identity, becomes her constant traveling companion in order to get an exclusive story and his job back. Hours before reaching New York and taking a rest stop in an auto camp, misunderstandings occur as Ellen awakens to find both Peter and the car gone.A simple story playing like an overlong "B" movie, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is a memorable bus trip of so many classic scenes that have been imitated by others but never duplicated. Highlights include the "Walls of Jericho" where Peter and Ellen share a room in auto camps where a blanket is tossed over a rope that separates the couple as they sleep for the night; Peter demonstrating to Ellen on how a man undresses, particularly one in which he removes his shirt to no undershirt underneath; Peter's correct method of dunking a dough-nut into a cup of coffee; and the classic hitchhiking scene where Peter fails to attract cars while Ellen comes up with a method all her own.Although IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is essentially a Claudette Colbert movie from start to finish there's no secondary female character, quite rare for its time . Due to the strength of Gable's performance, this has been hailed to be his best comedic role. Gable's character is hot-headed and forceful, living by a moral code. Although he shares a cabin with a married woman, that's all he does. He even tells Colbert's Ellie when she asks if she'll ever see him again, he replies, "I make it a policy not to run around with married women." And when he's hungry, he takes a carrot from a farm rather than going through the method of panhandling. This is Gable, a role model. Director Frank Capra, whose subject matter is usually on people, captures the many extras, especially those on the bus and auto camps, to make them appear as important as leading players. Roscoe Karns is equally memorable, "believe you me!" as the gabby bus passenger, Oscar Shapeley from Orange, New Jersey; Ward Bond as the tough talking bus driver; the meek Arthur Hoyt and the nosy/ domineering Blanche Frederici as the auto camp owners; Georgie Breakston the poor boy traveling on the bus with his mother Claire McDowell ; along with other passengers gathered together and singing "The Man on the Flying Trapeze," to a player of a snoring fat and bald man who rests his head on Colbert's shoulder. During it's entire 106 minutes, there's seldom any underscoring. As for the costumes, with the exception of the final 15 minutes, both Gable and Colbert use the same clothing through most of their trip.While Gable and Colbert had challenging roles in their careers, plus their reunion in MGM's large-scale BOOM TOWN 1940 , it's amazing how this likable little comedy was the only one to honor them Academy Awards. There's a scene where I feel Gable earned his statuette, the one where he tells Ellen the type of girl he would like to someday marry, saying that those kind of women don't exist anymore. Gable says this with frankness and sincerity. Colbert on the other hand earned hers from that same scene as she she listens and looks on lovingly at Gable with tears flowing down her cheek, coming to realize it happened one night.IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT not only became a perennial favorite on late night television during the 1960s and 70s, but on cable TV as well, ranging from the Disney Channel 1980s , American Movie Classics prior to 2001 to Turner Classic Movies, and availability on video cassette and finally DVD. While IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT has aged in appearance, it's still timely screen entertainment. There'll never be another film like this again. ***1/2
This is a pleasant, funny classic that shows it age only slightly, and that has a lot of scenes you can look forward to each time that you see it. Gable and Colbert each get roles that are nicely suited to them, and are well-remembered for their performances. The supporting cast also rounds out the picture with some good character acting.The cross-country trip on the bus and via other assorted methods is fun to watch, with several nice vignettes that complement the main story line. The atmosphere on the long bus trip is done especially well. The plot is of course not meant to be taken too <more>
seriously in itself, but it comes in very handy for setting up good characters and comedy.It all comes across as effortlessly entertaining romantic comedy, with some classic scenes and characters you learn to care for in spite of their mistakes.
A cute romantic comedy that was a pioneer of its genre (by FilmOtaku)
It Happened One Night is one of those films that is so classic, and on so many `must-see' lists that I actually assumed that I had seen it at one time or another. It wasn't until I actually looked into the film when I in fact realized I hadn't.The first film to sweep the major categories in an Oscar ceremony, It Happened One Night spins the story of a young spoiled heiress Colbert who marries a shallow, yet dashing aviator. She is then swept off by her father who takes her on a cruise; convinced that time away from each other will cure her infatuation. Instead, she escapes by <more>
jumping out of the boat and swimming to shore where she begins her journey from Miami to New York, where her husband awaits. The film quickly turns into an `on the road' flick at this point when she meets up with Clark Gable, a down on his luck reporter who offers to help her for the exclusive rights to her story. Mayhem inevitably ensues as one thing after another goes wrong during their adventure.I'm a little hesitant to completely agree with the general assessment that It Happened One Night is a screwball comedy. Of course, there were certain moments that were hilarious and overdone the scene when Gable and Colbert pose as husband and wife to share a cabin for the night is absolutely rich but the majority of the remaining film is clever romantic comedy with fairly even performances by the principles. Perhaps there is a sliding scale for screwball comedies, with It Happened One Night being a two and a film that I feel personifies the genre, Bringing up Baby, as a five. Whatever its classification, It Happened One Night is a charming film that backs up its merit as a multiple Oscar winner. It is one of those films that may not be completely profound or deep, but is important nonetheless if anything, for its place in film history.--Shelly
Could Have Been Super With Different Ending; Still A Top 'Classic' (by ccthemovieman-1)
The first movie to sweep all the major Academy Awards, this film is still popular today. That's probably so because the dialog between the two stars of the picture - Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert - is just great. Those two make this fun to watch. I enjoyed it, however, much more on the first viewing than subsequent ones. It lost some of its zip after I knew what to expect. The ending, too, was very weak. Over the last 20 minutes, the two stars go their separate ways until the very end and the story gets very stupid.The nice romance that had developed between the two seemed to have <more>
disintegrated when Gable left one early morning for good intentions but didn't tell Colbert. The latter thought Gable ran out on her. Hollywood, in films of the 1930s and 1940s, loved to have romances in which confusion abounded and everything was misinterpreted for the worst....until the happy ending when the truth somehow would surface. That same theme was in here, along with yet another trivialization of marriage, another common theme during the classic era. Colbert says it herself in one line, mentioning she doesn't care for this other guy, but what the heck, might as well get married, what's the difference? Huh?If the scriptwriters here would have just kept the "road" part of this film going longer - with Gable and Colbert trading barbs - it would have been super. Gable has the best lines an is the most fun to watch but Colbert can hold her own. She looks really pixie-ish and cute, although most of her closeups are done with a fuzzy lens, another habit of filmmakers of that era had with female stars. One of the film world's most famous scenes is in this movie: the hitch-hiking scene in which the cocky Cable explains the different ways of successful thumbing in order to get a ride....and gets nowhere while Colbert, on her first try, gets a car to stop immediately after she lifts up her skirt! That is still one of the great comedic scenes in movie history.Overall, this is still one of the best comedies of "The Golden Age," even with its faults.