on February 24, 2009
The blueprint for all the great romantic comedies that followed. Sit back and watch the sparks fly between Gable's handsome newspaper hound and Colbert's sexy but naive heiress! An absolute classic!!!
Columbia Pictures Corporation presents "IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT" (1934) (105 min/B&W) -- Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas, Alan Hale, Arthur Hoyt, Blanche Friderici, Charles C. Wilson
Directed by Frank Capra
Rebellious socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) marries King Wesley (Jameson Thomas) but her wealthy father has it annulled. Tired of her father's (Walter Connolly) control, she runs away by diving off the family yacht in Miami and heading for New York. On the bus she meets street-smart reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable). They end up traveling together as Warne hopes to get a great story, and Ellie needs his worldly help. Nearing New York, with their many adventures coming to an end, they find that they are reluctantly in love and afraid to admit it to each other.
After she mistakenly thinks that Warne has run out on her Ellie returns to King Wesley, but for how long?
Claudette Colbert only accepted because Capra promised he would double her salary and she would be done in four weeks. She disliked the film so much she didn't even attend the Oscars; when she won for Best Actress she was found about to leave on a trip and was rushed to the ceremony, where she made her acceptance speech in a traveling suit.
Oscar Winners for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Clark Gable), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Claudette Colbert), Best Director
(Frank Capra), Best Picture (Columbia Pictures), Best Writing, Adaptation (Robert Riskin)
* Special Footnote: -- In 1996, Steven Spielberg anonymously purchased Clark Gable's Oscar to protect it from further commercial exploitation, gave it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, commenting that he could think of "no better sanctuary for Gable's only Oscar than the Motion Picture Academy". ** Claudette Colbert was so convinced that she would lose the Oscar to write-in nominee Bette Davis that she didn't attended the ceremony originally. She was summoned from a train station to pick up her Academy Award.
** Another Special Footnote: -- Robert Montgomery turned down the male lead, saying the script was the worst thing he had ever read. ** Myrna Loy turned down the role of Ellie Andrews because a recent film set on a bus had failed, and she didn't think that this one would succeed.
1. Frank Capra [aka: Francesco Rosario Capra] (Director)
Date of Birth: 18 May 1897 - Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy
Date of Death: 3 September 1991 - La Quinta, California
2. Clark Gable
Date of birth: 1 February 1901 - Cadiz, Ohio,
Date of death: 16 November 1960 - Los Angeles, California
3. Claudette Colbert [aka: Emilie Claudette Chauchoin]
Date of Birth: 13 September 1903 - Saint-Mandé, Seine [now Val-de-Marne], France
Date of Death: 30 July 1996 - Speightstown, Barbados
4. Walter Connolly
Date of Birth: 8 April 1887 - Cincinnati, Ohio
Date of Death: 28 May 1940 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California
5. Roscoe Karns
Date of Birth: 7 September 1891 - San Bernardino, California
Date of Death: 6 February 1970 - Los Angeles, California
6. Jameson Thomas [aka: Thomas Jameson]
Date of Birth: 24 March 1888 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: 10 January 1939 - Sierra Madre, California
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 105 min on DVD ~ Columbia Pictures Corporation ~ (December 9, 2008)
on July 11, 2004
Peter Warne: Why didn't you take off all your clothes? You could have stopped forty cars.
Ellie Andrews: Well, ooo, I'll remember that when we need forty cars.
On-screen chemistry has the ability to turn a good film into something special. Look no further than Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night" for proof of this. Whoever came up with the idea of pairing Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert together in this production certainly earned his or her paycheck.
Rich girl Ellie Andrews (Colbert) runs away from her father so that she can be with her one true love, King Westley (Jameson Thomas). Ellie has little knowledge of how the outside world works so she hooks up with reporter Peter Warne (Gable) who offers to help her reach New York in return for the exclusive rights to her story. The pair finds each other intolerable at the outset but as they spend more time together, their opinions of each other start to change. By the time they arrive in New York, Ellie and Peter must decide if they should act upon the newfound affection they have developed towards one another.
"It Happened One Night" is effectively funny and romantic at the same time. The out-of-the-way situations Ellie and Peter find themselves involved in is screwball comedy at its finest and the love that develops between them is Hollywood magic at its most charming. Colbert and Gable show why they were two of the biggest stars of their era and the chemistry they display on screen still is magnetic to this very day. "It Happened One Night" is also a fascinating cultural text due to its suggestive sexual overtones and its vivid depiction of a woman who is determined to take matters into her own hands when the situation calls for it. Both of these aspects are especially noteworthy when one considers the period in which the film was made. Yet, if "It Happened One Night" is to be remembered for anything, it should be remembered for the classic that it is. After all, when you speak of pure cinematic bliss, you speak of scenes like the one where Ellie flashes her thigh to stop an approaching car - truly one of the greatest moments ever caught on film.
on June 13, 2004
A spoiled socialite (Claudette Colbert) flees her wealthy father (Walter Connolly) and heads for New York to marry a rich playboy (Jameson Thomas) against her father's will. The whereabouts of Ellie Andrews and the reward for her return become the stuff of national headlines, so when recently fired reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable) recognizes her, he decides to stick close so he can write the story. Naturally, romance follows, but it's a bumpy and hugely entertaining road to get there.
This is an absolutely wonderful film. It's such a shame that so many people are not interested in watching an old black-and-white movie. Good work is timeless. Gable and Colbert have wonderful chemistry and are both hilarious and touching. The rest of the cast is excellent as well. Even though the story is set during the Great Depression, it doesn't seem dated at all. The wisecracking between characters is sharp and well-written (by screenwriter Robert Riskin); there are lots of laugh-out-loud moments during this film. It's also pretty racy and suggestive for its time, with a genuinely affecting climax. Another level of interest is added by the careful attention that director Frank Capra pays to the depression-era milieu; Colbert's character really doesn't understand the plight of the common man, but Gable's hard-bitten reporter is all too aware of the hard times that people are going through. This adds a fascinating sociological dimension.
on May 28, 2004
This film is nothing but brilliant. There is not a second that goes by when you get bored of it.
The film stars Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert and is directed by Frank Capra. Thats enough to make you want to see it already!
The film was released in 1934 and won five academy awards, Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.
The basic storyline goes:
Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is this spoiled rich girl, who runs away from her father (Walter Connolly) who is a millionaire, so that she can marry her fiancee. On her way to New York, she gets on a bus on which she meets a newspaper reporter, Peter Warne (Clark Gable). They start off bad, but then there bus breaks down, which is the start to a very funny hitchhiking trip that will certainly change the both of them. The scene where Gable is pretending that he is a gangster is hilarious!
Now for the DVD:
The picture quality looks very good. The sound is good. It has some nice extras, such as an Original Live Radio Broadcast that is very, very entertaining. A featurette, the usual trailer, along with a few other things aswell. No commentary though (refers to region 2 release). However, there is apparently one on the US disc of this film.
If there is any such thing as a perfect movie, this is it!
This film, and this DVD presentation, is most highly recommended! Its hard to describe how great this movie is. It really is that good!
PLEASE NOTE: I own the Region 2 relase of this DVD. As mentioned above, this Region 1 release apparently includes all the same as the UK release, but this also includes a commentary.
on February 28, 2004
When IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT was released in 1934, the movie was not a hit either with the fans or the critics. The producers were ready to relegate director Frank Capra's film to the dustbins of the filmshelf. But then a strange thing happened. Word of mouth spread the news that this was a film of import and fun. In just a few short months, the lines around the few theaters that were still showing it were long enough to convince the producers that they should redistribute it, and so they did. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT has been in more or less continuous showing since then. It garnered a slew of Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor for Clark Gable and Best Actress for Claudette Colbert.
Critics of IHON justly call it a magnificent early example of a screwball comedy, and it is surely that, but repeated viewings imbue it with a series of social and economic subtexts that the contemporary audience could relate to. Clark Gable is Peter Warne, a huckstering newpaperman who has the great bad fortune to hook up with Ellen Andrews (Colbert), a spoiled socialite who is running away from her overbearing magnate father who wants to annul her marriage to a foppish goldhunter King Westlake. The majority of the film is an early version of a comedic but stark version of Kerouac's ON THE ROAD, with Gable and Colbert trying to travel from Florida to New York, all the while pursued by detectives hired by her father to catch them. When fans think of reasons why they love IHON, they usually point to the famous hitchhiking scene where Colbert's raised skirt gets a ride when Gable's thumb proves inadequate. Then, these fans mention the blanket between the lovers scene in which the symbolic Walls of Jericho slowly come tumbling down as each reaches out to the other to reveal their growing attraction. The chemistry between Gable and Colbert is so strong that one wonders why they never paired up again. Yet,IHON is more than a screwball comedy that permits the lovers to dash in and out of improbable situations. As they travel the dusty roads of backwoods America, a depression oriented America that was all too well versed in such meanderings could travel right along with them. The communal singing on the bus scene is not simply a musical interlude between scenes; it temporarily places Gable and Colbert into the background and propels the image of lonely travelers on the road reaching out to one another in a fashion that must have resonated with many viewers. From bus to hitchhiking to tramping dusty roads, Gable and Colbert proved yet again that the magic of chemistry when allied with the right social subtext could produce a film that even today can place the video audience right there in the same creaky car driven by that suitcase thief. If director Capra proves anything it is that true magic does not vary to fit changing economic or social climates. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is truly one of the all time great moments in film history.
on February 15, 2004
I first saw this movie when I was 15-years-old. Most people at this age usually have the misconception that black & white films are boring. I used to be in that same muddled pool, but this film would forever change my view of old classic movies.
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, originally titled NIGHT BUS, was a low budget movie panned early on by film critics, but embraced by moviegoers all over America. The critics -- who had snubbed the film at first -- were undoubtedly curious about its fast-rising popularity. They reviewed it again, but under closer scrutiny. During the following year (in 1935), the film was nominated for five major Academy Awards: 1) Best Picture, 2) Best Director, 3) Best Writing Adaptation, 4) Best Actress, and 5) Best Actor. It was no wonder that the picture captured all five of the major categories.
This film continues to enchant moviegoers, and it continues to influence much of what we see in today's romantic comedies. It's responsible for this basic formula: The common scenario being boy meets girl, boy and girl despise each other, boy and girl fall in love with each other, boy loses girl, boy eventually wins girl back. You've seen it. So many times in fact that the stories and characters generally seem jaded and contrived. Many of these films fail to duplicate the magic of this 1934 classic. The acting, too, usually isn't up to par with a Gable or Colbert -- both of whom deliver stellar performances in this film. Their great on-screen chemistry ignites the movie and energizes it to the end. You can expect plenty of action and excitement here, for it's all based on good humor and fun.
Frank Capra's direction is superb, the cast is terrific, and the crisp, witty dialogue certainly makes this one of the best films ever.
Watch it and enjoy!
**Note: Gable and Colbert did work together again in a film called BOOM TOWN, which was released in 1940. The movie was a disappointment, however, because it lacked the same wonderful spark that was so evident in this picture.**
on February 3, 2004
"It Happened One Night" is an excellent comedy released in 1934. It garnered five Oscars, including Best Picture. Its unique laughter attracting style remains entertaining, regardless how many viewings. Its love story theme remains funny and serious in the perfect scenes. Its many twists and turns keeps audiences interested in what will happen next, from Ellie's escape from her father and fiance to Ellie meeting Peter to the two slowly falling in love. There is no dull moment. Such writing quality is only one movie detail that makes it classic-worthy. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert earned an Oscar for their lead roles. Both brilliant actors offer their own comedy and serious theme, which adds more flavor. Regardless if they express greed, love, rejection, happiness, or anger, their every moment is flawless. "It Happened One Night" is a great classic film for those looking for unique humor. This will surely continue pleasing audiences for many more years.
on July 29, 2003
I feel like a kid in the candy store. Having finally purchased the DVD of this wonderful film there's a sense that I did something right. This film has no heavy moral ambiguity but it still has a wonderful portrayal of the human condition in America. Clark Gable as Peter Warne is a lovable cad of a newsman. He's not terrible but he is manipulative. He's also sincere. I never know just when he actually falls in love with the swanky material girl, Ellen Andrews, played by the spunky Claudette Colbert, but you know it's happening along every step of their reluctant road trip. Her change of heart is forced upon her when the reality of how she will miss Peter when the trip is over. She learns a little humility and he learns that even the rich and spoiled can be sincere as well as fall in love with a regular Joe. This is such a delightful pairing that it's amazing that I've never seen them paired again in other movies. Marvelous chemestry exists between them and they are the perfect foil for each other's hard-headed assuptions about the other. This movie is also a wonderful slice of director Frank Capra's gift for revealing genuine scenes of Americans and Americana. Our strengths and our faults ride side by side throughout the odyssey from Miami to New York. The strengths win out with a few personal compromises leading to revelations along the way. I caught myself smiling by the movie's end.No surprise there.The picture on this DVD is full screen and not widescreen. Having never seen the film is a theater I have no idea if any cropping occurred. However, the picture is surprisingly clean and clear.All around, this is some of the best money I've spent on a DVD.
on April 18, 2003
"It Happened One Night" is the story of Peter Warren (Clark Gable), the happy go lucky newspaper hound who discovers that missing heiress, Ellie McPherson (Claudette Colbert) is actually traveling with him on the cross country night bus. Determined to expose Ellie, Peter finds himself falling for her instead. Director Frank Capra's original road trip movie gives us some real gems, not the least of which is watching Ellie hoist her skirt up to passer-bys on the open road in order to secure suitable transportation.
Colbert, not always the most congenial of stars, absolutely refused to make this picture and had to be strong armed by Columbia chief, Harry Cohn. While working, Colbert reportedly didn't try very hard at playing her part, was constantly in conflict with Capra and, after principle photography was completed, stormed off the set declaring that this was the worst picture she had ever made. Small irony that the role Colbert liked the least is the one which garnered her only Best Actress Oscar. Gable, who had been loaned out by MGM as punishment for refusing to do a part in one of their pictures, took home the Best Actor statuette. So much for punishing 'the king'!
Unfortunately, Columbia Home Video's presentation of this Academy Award winning masterwork is punishment enough. While the film has had extensive restoration, thanks to the Library of Congress, the DVD exhibits a generally soft picture with slightly out of focus images. Some scenes are so blurry that they suggest a dupe negative was cut into the first generation camera negative. There is some aliasing and shimmering, as well as an almost total loss of fine details during many of the scenes taking place at night.. The soundtrack has been restored as well but continues to exhibit a scratchy background hiss and distracting pops with varying degrees of audibility. The one extra worth mentioning is "Frank Capra Jr. Remembers..." a snippet in which the son of the director talks about his father and the movie. It's too short but interesting nevertheless.