Tonight's Saturday Night Cinema is film classic, It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable (yummy!) and Claudette Colbert. Frank Capra's merry romance classic won all five major Academy Awards for 1934. It is still fresh and snappy and great fun. I love Gable and he is superb.
Below is the 1934 NY Times film review. "What the Times reviewer didn't know was that this movie, one of the funniest and most engaging of all time, would sweep the Oscars, and set a standard for romantic comedies and road pictures that would rarely if ever be matched. Gable is at his peak, thoroughly charming and consistently amusing, a man's man if ever there was one. Colbert has a difficult role to put across, since she must be feckless, willful and often annoying while still being likeable. She succeeds, and her performance stands up to many viewings. For this reviewer's money, the best scene is the sing-along on the bus. I've never seen anything like it." – Nate Levin, metro NYC
It Happened One Night (1934)Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in a Merry Jaunt From Miami to New York.
There are few serious moments in "It Happened One Night," a screen feast which awaits visitors to the Radio City, and if there is a welter of improbable incidents these hectic doings serve to generate plenty of laughter. The pseudo suspense is kept on the wing until a few seconds before the picture ends, but it is a foregone conclusion that the producers would never dare to have the characters acted by Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert separated when the curtain falls.
In this merry romance, which is an adaptation of a magazine story by Samuel Hopkins Adams, Peter Warne (Mr. Gable) and Ellie Andrews (Miss Colbert) enjoy the discomforts of a long-distance bus ride; they also experience the pain of hitch-hiking and the joys of tourist camps. Besides these glimpses, one beholds Alexander Andrews searching for his daughter in an airplane, expostulating with secretaries and sleuths because he is unable to find the missing girl, incidentally an heiress.
Warne is one of those crack newspaper men frequently discovered in Hollywood's spacious studios. He does not hesitate to tell his superiors in outbursts of slang precisely what he thinks of them, even though his finances at the time are at a low ebb. Ellie is an obstinate young person, who to spite her father has become the wife (in name only) of a dashing young man named King Westley. She finds herself virtually a prisoner on her father's yacht and, in the introductory scenes, she is on a hunger strike. Soon afterward she darts from her cabin to the deck, leaps overboard and swims for Florida and freedom.
It is while she is on her way from Miami to New York that she encounters Warne, an audacious person. To make matters more interesting, the producers or the author decide that the fiery Ellie must have her suitcase stolen. As days go by, Warne and Ellie experience the pangs of hunger and, at one period, they have to content themselves with a meal of raw carrots.
"It Happened One Night" is a good piece of fiction, which, with all its feverish stunts, is blessed with bright dialogue and a good quota of relatively restrained scenes. Although there are such flighty notions as that of having Ellie running away from a marriage ceremony when the guests—and particularly King Westley—had expected to hear her say "I will"; or those depicting Warne volleying vituperation over the telephone at his city editor; there are also more sober sequences wherein Warne and Ellie spread cheer to the audience, notwithstanding their sorry adventures with little or no money.
Miss Colbert gives an engaging and lively performance. Mr. Gable is excellent in his rôle. Roscoe Karns affords no little fun by his flirtatious conduct on board a bus. Walter Connolly is in his element as Ellie's father and Alan Hale gives a robust portrayal of an artful owner of a flivver.
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, based on a story by Samuel Hopkins Adams; directed by Frank Capra; a Columbia production. At the Radio City Music Hall.
Peter Warne . . . . . Clark Gable
Ellie Andrews . . . . . Claudette Colbert
Alexander Andrews . . . . . Walter Connolly
Mr. Shapeley . . . . . Roscoe Karns
King Westley . . . . . Jameson Thomas
Danker . . . . . Alan Hale
Lovington . . . . . Wallis Clark
Henderson . . . . . Harry Bradley
Zeke . . . . . Arthur Hoyt
Zeke's wife . . . . . Blanche Frederici