AFI Top 100: No. 46 It Happened One Night

“It Happened One Night” was the first film to win the five big Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay. It was a clever romantic comedy about Ellie, a socialite who married a man to escape her father. She runs away when her father demands she has the marriage annulled and, while attempting to ride incognito on a bus to New York, meets Peter Warne, a reporter who recognizes her. He agrees to help her make it to New York on the account that she allows him to sell the story. As expected, the two fall in love along the way.

Now, even though the film was fairly predictable, it was an enjoyable one. Clark Gable was his charming self; I know Tim also admired his wit throughout the film. From the sweet nickname of “Brat” for Ellie, to dubbing the blanket that separated the two “The Wall of Jerico” to his attempt at hitchhiking, Gable was definitely who made the movie funny and sweet. Claudette Colbert was pretty much perfect as Ellie. She was able to embody a woman who was so spoiled and sheltered she wouldn’t eat a raw carrot yet was also able to have her stunts of diving off the boat and running off at her wedding be believable.

I mentioned earlier that this movie won all five of the major awards at the Academy Awards. There is no chance that this film would be able to accomplish such a sweep nowadays. I can’t even remember the last time a romantic comedy (or even comedy) won Best Picture… I believe it was Shakespeare in Love. Regardless of what the Academy deems as being the best film nowadays, I think a goofy romantic comedy is sometimes needed, and that is what It Happened One Night delivers.

Next Up: Shane


One comment

  1. […] Cuckoo’s Nest might be his finest. The film was only the second to win all five major awards (AFI No. 46 It Happened One Night was the first) and this film deserved this honor even more […]

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