15. It Happened one Night

Directed by Frank Capra 

Written by Robert Riskin

Produced by Frank capra y Harry Cohn

Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert and Walter Conolly

Country: United States

Running time: 105 minutes

Release date: February 22, 1934

Why you should see it?

This is one of the greatest screwball comedies in film. This film directed by Frank Capra it is one of the last films created in the thirties before the MPAA (Motion Picture Asociation of America) began enforcing the production code. And it was the first film to win all major Academy Awards (Best Picture, actor actress, director and screenplay) just follow by One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest and Silence of the Lambs.

The escapist theme of the film is appropriate during the Depression Era of a mismatched couple and as a Reverse Cinderella, a rich woman to leave everything for a poor guy.

But this is mainly and early road trip, and have some of the most classic Capra’s Scenes: The hitchhiking scene, the nighttime scene on a haystack in a desert barn and a dramatic wedding scene. This movie was consider a racy film, in the 30’s, because Clark Gable take his shirt on screen and Claudette  Colbert show her full leg.

The script was based on a couple of stories published in Cosmopolitan Magazine from 1933 : Night Bus and Last trip both by Samuel Hopkins Adams.

With It Happened one night, Capra helped pioneer a number of sound and camera techniques in early talkies movies. Capra also how to create a sentimental, smart, funny and sophisticated movie. It Happened One Night revolutionized romantic comedy and men’s underwear, the film killed the sales of men’s undershirts when Gable took off his shirt to reveal an appealingly bare chest.


Spoiled heiress Ellen “Ellie” Andrews marries fortune-hunter “King” Westley against the wishes of her extremely wealthy father. He retrieves his daughter before the marriage can be consummated, but then she runs away. Boarding a bus to New York City, to reunite with her new spouse, she meets fellow bus passenger Peter Warne, an out-of-work newspaper reporter. He recognizes her and gives her a choice: if she will give him an exclusive on her story he will help her reunite with Westley. If not, he will tell her father where she is and collect the reward offered for her return. Ellie agrees to the first choice.

Soon penniless, Ellie has to rely completely on Peter. As they go through several adventures together, Ellie loses her initial disdain for him and begins to fall in love.

When they have to hitchhike, Peter claims to be an expert on the subject. As car after car passes them by, he eventually ends up thumbing his nose at them. The sheltered Ellie then shows him how it’s done. She stops the next car, driven by Danker, dead in its tracks by lifting up her skirt and showing off a shapely leg.

When they stop for a break, Danker tries to drive off with their luggage. Peter chases him down and takes his car.

One night, nearing the end of their journey together, Ellie confesses her love to Peter. Peter mulls over what she has said, decides he loves her too, and leaves to make arrangements after she has fallen asleep. When the owners of the motel in which they are staying notice that Peter’s car is gone, they roust Ellie out of bed and kick her out.

Believing Peter has deserted her, Ellie calls her father, who is so relieved to get her back that he agrees to let her marry Westley. Although Ellie has no desire to be with Westley, she believes Peter has betrayed her for the reward money, so she agrees to have a second, formal wedding. Meanwhile, Peter has obtained money from his editor to marry Ellie, but as he drives back to tell her, they pass each other on the road.

Ellie tries to pretend that nothing has happened, but she is unable to fool her father. She finally reveals the whole story.

When Peter comes to Ellie’s home, Mr. Andrews offers him the reward money, but Peter insists on being paid only his expenses: a paltry $39.60. When Ellie’s father presses him for an explanation of his odd behavior, Peter admits he loves Ellie, then storms out.

At the wedding ceremony, as Mr. Andrews walks his daughter down the aisle, he quietly encourages Ellie to run off again, telling her that her car is out back for a quick get-away. At the point where she is to say “I do”, she makes up her mind. She runs off to find Peter. Her pleased father pays Westley off, enabling Ellie to marry Peter

One thought on “15. It Happened one Night

  1. Pingback: Best Wedding scenes in Films «

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