Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It Happened One Night (1934)


Character Development: 3 stars
Cinematography: 2 stars
Plot Development: 3 stars
Costuming: 5 stars
Overall Rating: 3 stars


Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is an heiress who has just married King Westley, who is not actually a king, but a society gentleman who her father does not like. When the movie begins, Ellie is onboard her father's (Walter Connolly) yacht after he has kidnapped her to try and convince her to annul her marriage. She jumps overboard and swims to shore to bus back to King Westley. On the way, she meets the dashing Peter Warne (Clark Gable), a newspaper reporter who is mostly interested in helping her out to get the 'inside story' on her travels back to her sweetheart. When the bus they are travelling on breaks down, they find themselves hitch-hiking together to New York. From there, it's just a series of wacky hijinx and lots of fun. By the time they end up in New York, Ellie may have found herself in love with someone besides King Westley.


How can a film be bad with Clark Gable in the lead?! I thoroughly enjoyed this classic romantic comedy. Now, if you pause and think about the creepiness factor in Peter's (somewhat gruffly) forcing Ellie to stay in a hotel room with him (don't worry - there are two twin beds!) the first night when the bus breaks down, it is understandable that she is more than a little weirded out by his advances. But, man -- did you see that sexy smirk? C'mon Ellie! It's Clark Gable! I mean, Peter Warne! No wonder she ends up letting her guard down and having a little fun with this delightful gentleman-in-disguise.

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert's performances were magnificent. Their love/hate relationship and flirty banter was delightful! The characters development was good enough and perfectly suited to the romantic-comedy genre. I loved watching Claudette's character soften and embrace the hitch-hiking life to which she was obviously not accustomed.

The costumes were perfect (especially Ellie's silky wedding gown), the comedic timing right on, and the film, highly recommendable. I can't think of anything else to say!


  • The movie based on the story Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams. While shooting, Night Bus was the title of the film. They later changed it to It Happened One Night, which is a strange title because the film takes place over several days and nights.
  • It was the first film to win all five major Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Writing/Adaptation

Looking forward to another Clark Gable flick -- Mutiny on the Bounty is next! -- Critic Fix


Robert said...

-My favorite Capra film is "Arsenic and Old Lace". I should do a Capra double-header someday.
-While doing some research on this movie, I came across this little nugget: "It has been claimed that it (this film) helped inspire the cartoon character Bugs Bunny. Three things in the film may have coalesced to create Bugs: the personality of a minor character, Oscar Shapely, an imaginary character named "Bugs Dooley" mentioned once to frighten Shapely, and most of all, a scene in which Clark Gable eats carrots while talking quickly with his mouth full, as Bugs does." That settles it... I'll have to see this movie eventually to see the possible origins of the greatest cartoon character of all time.

Susanna said...

Finally a movie that I have seen. I love this film. It might be in my top ten favorites. Glad you liked it, too!

Anonymous said...

Yeah! I actually own this movie. I remember watching it at home with my family and we were all laughing so hard we were crying. It was such a great movie for it's day! I'm so glad you enjoyed it too!

Heather said...

Ah this is supposed to be a SUPERB film! I definitely got a sense of the plot and feel of the movie through your descriptions. Great job CriticFix!

Love from Chanelbaby.

Awesome/Emily said...

So i happened upon your blog through a friend's blog, and i find it amazing! I'm working on a film minor and a list of every movie I've ever seen/seeing 10,000 before i die, and i think once i get working on meeting the 10,000 actively this may be a good way to go about it. Thanks!

David Shira said...

Great blog. I stumbled across this one day accidentally. Believe it or not back in July of 2009, I had the same goal. I completed it about a month or so ago and I am blogging too. I see you haven't blogged in a while but I wanted to encourage you to finish it. It will be great adventure full of awesome movies. (And some bad ones, too) Keep watching those movies, it will be great!