Ah, watching the classics can bring you back to the real original of a genre – and this is one of them!
Ellie (Claudette Colbert) is the daughter of an extremely wealthy man. She has just married but her father disagrees – and he takes her away on a boat. She won’t be kept like this, and leaps off, swimming for freedom. No wasting time in this film – that all happens in the first two minutes! Then, Ellie is on the run, catching a bus to New York to meet her love. Along comes Peter (Clark Gable) a drunk reporter who recognizes her immediately and endeavours to help her – all for the cause of a good story. It is opposites attract, and they fight like cat and dog until, of course, they fall in love.
It’s cheesy and corny and truly wonderful. Watch it aware of the time when it was made, 1934. Ellie is a pretty good female role for the time, until she suddenly breaks into tears – gets a bit ‘need to be rescued by a man’ at that point, but that’s okay. And Clark Gable is hilarious – especially when he first appears, magnificently drunk. Lovely.
It Happened One Night won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Clark Gable), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Claudette Colbert), Best Director (Frank Capra) and Best Writing, Adaptation (Robert Riskin).