It Happened One Night (1934)
It Happened One Night is a romantic comedy made in 1934, directed by Frank Capra and starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. It was only a modest success on release, both commercially and critically, but it has since come to be regarded as a classic, one of the finest romantic comedies ever made, with an ideal blend of great screenplay, direction and outstanding individual performances.
It was nominated for five Academy Awards - Best Picture, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), Best Director (Frank Capra), and Best Adaptation (Robert Riskin) - and won all five categories for which it was nominated. It was the first movie to achieve this feat, which was not to be repeated for 41 years when 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' won all its category nominations in 1975. On the American film Institute's list of Top 100 Movies it is ranked at number forty-six.
When the filming was completed, Colbert had no confidence in the finished movie and didn't even attend the Academy Awards presentation, feeling she had no chance of winning. When the film was released it was to favorable, but not rave reviews, but gradually ticket sales picked up and the movie became an acknowledged winner, and even a national obsession with theaters sold out for weeks at a time. Its success turned round the fortunes of Columbia Pictures and made it a major Hollywood studio.
The movie is generally considered to be the forerunner of the 'screwball' comedy genre, setting the pattern for many following movies such as 'Bringing Up Baby' and 'The Philadelphia Story'.
The escapist theme of the movie is still appealing today and keeps the film funny for today's audiences. It tells the story of an heiress, Ellie (Claudette Colbert) whose father disapproves of her forthcoming marriage. She takes off for New York where she meets a smug, tough-talking reporter, Peter (Clark Gable) who senses a big story for himself in the spoiled rich kid. They initially dislike each other but romance flowers and eventually triumphs.
Main CastClark Gable ... Peter Warne
Claudette Colbert ... Ellie Andrews
Walter Connolly ... Andrews
Roscoe Karns ... Shapeley
Jameson Thomas ... Westley King
Alan Hale ... Danker
Arthur Hoyt ... Zeke
Blanche Friderici ... Zeke's Wife
Charles C. Wilson ... Gordon
CreditsDirector ... Frank Capra
Producer ... Harry Cohn
Production Company ... Columbia Pictures
Story by ... Based on a short story by Samuel Hopkins Adams
Screenplay by ... Robert Riskin
Format ... B & W
Initial Release ... 23 February, 1934
Running Time ... 105 minutes
Academy AwardsFive Wins:
Best Picture ... Columbia
Best Director ... Frank Capra
Best Actor ... Clark Gable
Best Actress ... Claudette Colbert
Best Writing (Adaptation) ... Robert Riskin
No Unsuccessful Nominations: