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Posts Tagged ‘claudette colbert’

This little gem of a movie was made in 1934, and is often considered to be the first screwball comedy.  It’s also ranked at number 3 of the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest romantic comedies.  However, neither of the two stars, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, wanted to do the film, and several stars turned down the female lead.  (Colbert only agreed to do it on the basis that her salary was doubled and that it would only entail four weeks work.)  However, it was the first movie to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay – although Colbert was apparently so convinced that Bette Davis would win best actress for Of Human Bondage, that she (Colbert) did not even attend the Oscars ceremony.  When it was announced that she had won, she had to be tracked down at a train station and brought to the ceremony to accept the award.  She gave her acceptance speech in her traveling clothes!

But onto the movie itself…Colbert plays Ellie Andrews, a wealthy heiress whose father disapproves of her recent marriage.  In a bid to escape her father’s clutches, Ellie runs away from Miami to get to New York and her new husband.  Along the way she meets newspaper reporter Peter Warne (Gable) who helps her get to New York on condition that she gives him an exclusive piece for the paper he works for.  Initially antagonistic towards each other, they soon develop a friendship and then their feelings start to turn to something more…

This really is a lovely movie, which transcends the passage of time.  Of course it looks dated now, but that only adds to its charm.  Gable is roguish, cavalier and very dashing, whereas Colbert plays the part of the pampered heiress with a vulnerable side extremely well.  There are many hilarious moments in the film – the hitchhiking scene in particular is especially funny.

(N.B.: If the plotline sounds similar to that of Roman Holiday, which came two decades later, there are a few similarities, but the comparisons which have been drawn between the two movies are largely unwarranted.  Whereas Roman Holiday focuses more on the romance aspect, It Happened One Night is more comedy focussed.  I would highly recommend both movies.)

Year of release: 1943

Director: Frank Capra

Writers: Robert Riskin, Samuel Hopkins Adams

Main cast: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly

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