It Happened One Night

Year : 1934

Director: Frank Capra

Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas

A rich, spoilt, but very sheltered socialite escapes her father’s yacht by diving overboard rather than face his wrath over her news that she married the first man she met on a previous day out. In doing so, she sets off a nationwide hunt, with her father trying to find her before she can reach New York and her new husband.

It Happened One Night is a timeless, curious thing. It’s definitely a chase movie, with Ellie (Colbert) striving to stay one step ahead of the law, her father’s hired detectives, and the press – for whom this story is a godsend.

It’s also a romance, building slowly as Ellie teams up with gruff New York reporter Peter Warne (Gable). Ellie needs help getting to her husband, whilst Peter – on his last chance with his editor and desperate for a story – negotiates an exclusive when they get there.

It’s very much a comedy as well, with the two leads in sparkling form and clearly enjoying the freedom that the – at the time – surprisingly risque plot and script allowed them. Against the backdrop of a host of vivid supporting actors, their relationship grows as they learn to trust and rely on each other’s abilities.

Frank Capra produced and directed this black and white masterpiece, which deservedly swept the board at the 1935 Oscars, winning in all five main categories (Actor, Actress, Director, Movie, and Screenplay), and generated $4,500,000 in revenue. Doesn’t sound much? It’s 138.5 times the amount it cost to make, which (for comparison) would be like Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossing over FORTY TWO BILLION DOLLARS. Not bad…