Tuesday, September 8, 2020

#2020PopCultureResolution - It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night

Director: Frank Capra

Length:  105 minutes

Cast: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

Release Date:  February 221934

Synopsis: Ellie Andrews is a spoiled heiress who has, against her father's will, eloped with fortune-hunting aviator "King" Westley. Jumping ship in Florida to reunite with her new spouse, her impromptu exit leads her to a bus traveling to New York City where she meets cheeky, charismatic news reporter Pete Warne.

It Happened One Night is one of the few movies that can boast to winning all five of the big awards at the Oscars. It's a prestigious honour that had my expectations really high before watching this one.

This movie is a charming romantic comedy that has elements of a screwball comedy mixed in. I can certainly see why it would have been beloved when it was released and why it might have won the accolades that it did.

Claudette Colbert is sweet in this. She reminds me a lot of Clara Bow in terms of her cherubic face and girl next door appeal. She's glamorous but in a very obtainable seeming way. She does a great job with this role (as evident from her Oscar win). 

Clark Gable's specific appeal has never been something that registered with me. There are plenty of other classic Hollywood actors that I would consider much more handsome. I can, however, appreciate his talent (specifically in this one). I enjoyed his take on this roguish, charismatic character and felt he suited the role perfectly.

The plot is pretty straightforward. A young heiress who recently married against her father's wishes has run off to be reunited with her husband. While making her way to him she meets a (very charming) reporter who agrees to help her in exchange for a story as her disappearance is big news. Anyone who has seen any amount of romantic comedies knows how this is going to end. It is not about the destination with this one, however, but rather the journey. 

The heart of this movie is the chemistry between Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert's characters. I am a sucker for some good banter between a couple and this movie definitely has that going for it. There are some genuinely funny scenes and some delightfully playful moments between the pair. Her exasperation combined with him knowing how to press her buttons worked for these characters. The scene in which he begins to strip in front of her is a perfect example of this. Everything Peter does is done with a wink and that played against Ellie's more sheltered personality is delightful. You know they are going to fall in love pretty much as soon as they meet, but more importantly you believe it.

A romantic comedy is not complete without a happy ending, and that is the case here. The tension within the last parts of this movie is just enough to make the ending all the more satisfying. If you like movies with witty banter, enough drama to make it compelling, and a touch of humour I would highly recommend this. You can't go wrong with this one as a pick me up on a rainy afternoon. 

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