It Happened One Night
Frank Capra (1934)

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1934, 105 MINS, B&W, US

  • Dir: Frank Capra
  • Prod: Frank Capra
  • Scr: Robert Riskin (from Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams)
  • Ph: Joseph Walker
  • Ed: Gene Havlick
  • Mus: Louis Silvers (dir.)
  • Art Dir: Stephen Gooson

CAST:

(Columbia)

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Once again what makes this mildly screwball romp one of the most endearing and enduring of romantic comedies is chemistry - in this case the chemistry produced by two stars who didn't want to make the film in the first place. Clark Gable indeed was in it only because he had offended Louis B. Mayer at MGM and was lent to Columbia as a punishment.

And one can see why neither he nor Claudette Colbert was too keen on the picture. It's no more than a slender tale about a runaway heiress (Colbert) and an out-of-work journalist (Gable) who meet on a bus and fall in love. Yet it has delighted audiences for sixty years, probably because these are the kind of attractive, humorous people we would like to be or anyway would like to know.

The setting is mainly rural America in the Depression era, but the tone is optimistic and cheerful, the incidental characters are pretty decent if sometimes more than a little bizarre and a deliciously sexy undercurrent runs through the whole film. Two scenes in particular remain in everyone's mind - the Walls of Jericho, when heiress and hack are forced to share a bedroom and coyly undress with a blanket suspended between them, and the hitchhiking contest when Colbert matches her legs against Gable's thumb. No contest at all, really. As handled by Colbert and the director, Frank Capra, that moment when she raises her skirt a few inches above the knee is more erotic than any amount of humping and grunting on beds.


OSCARS:

  • Best film; best actor (Gable); best actress (Colbert); best director; best screenplay. (The only other film to collect all those five most-coveted Oscar was The Silence of the Lambs in 1992.)


5 STARS OUT OF 5



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frank capra dvds




frank capra videos





it happened one night

dvds | videos

al pacino | michelle pfeiffer

yul brynner | christopher plummer | romy schneider

the godfather | the godfather part ii
marlon brando | james caan | diane keaton | al pacino
laurence olivier | clark gable | vivien leigh | leslie howard | alfred hitchcock | robert montgomery | grace kelly
olivia de havilland | humphrey bogart | howard hawks | frank capra | charlie chaplin | lauren bacall | fritz lang
jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth







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Changes last made: 2004