1934 – It Happened One Night

Absolutely delightful.  There is a reason why It Happened One Night took five Oscars at the 1934 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.  And Frank Capra made the whole thing happen in four weeks!

Claudette Colbert plays Ellie Andrews, the heiress to a fortune.  She spends her time trying to pry herself loose from her father’s protective grasp.  During one of her escape attempts, she runs into Peter Warne, played by Clark Gable, on a bus to New York.  Comedy and romance ensue as their bus breaks down, they attempt to hitchhike, try to scrounge up money, and haphazardly resist each other.  But really, who can resist Clark Gable’s heart-melting, dimpled smile?  Steve probably had a crush on him by the end of the film. (He should have, anyway.)

Apparently Frank Capra had a difficult time getting this film together.  After he recruited Clark Gable, he was set on Claudette Colbert as the leading actress. (It seems that Colbert’s off-screen personality fit very well into Ellie Andrew’s stubborn haughtiness.)  Colbert was on her way to a four-week vacation, and she demanded double her normal salary.  But Capra pulled it all together and started shooting the next day.  Colbert walked away in the end feeling like it was a huge waste of time, only to pick up an Oscar of her own a few months later.

Witty and charming, the film keeps you on the edge of your seat and warms your heart at the same time.  I don’t want to ruin the end because I really encourage you to see it, but this is from one of my favorite parts of the movie:

“I like privacy when I retire.  Yes, I’m very delicate in that respect.  Prying eyes annoy me.  Behold the walls of Jericho.  Maybe not as thick as the ones Joshua blew down with his trumpet, but a lot safer.  You see, I have no trumpet.  And just to show you my heart’s in the right place, I’ll give you my best pair of pajamas.  Now, do you mind joining the Israelites?
You don’t want to join the Israelites?  Alright.  Perhaps you’re interested in how a man undresses…”

Don’t worry… Remember, the film is from 1934.

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