Sunday, July 26, 2009

It Happened One Night (1934)

A spoiled heiress, running away from her father, is helped by a man who's actually a reporter looking for a story. But then he falls for her... [imdb]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Frank Capra (WINNER)
Best Actor: Clark Gable (WINNER)
Best Actress: Claudette Colbert (WINNER)
Best Writing, Adaptation (WINNER)

It Happened One Night is not just the 7th film to win Best Picture, but also one of only 3 films to ever win the 5 major Oscars: picture, director, screenplay, actor & actress. And it's an interesting film, probably ahead of its time. When I first think of it, I find it to be a bit too light, too soft for a BP winner. It's a comedy, with a very simple story. But the fact that it does function so well on all levels makes it the great, memorable film it is.
I've heard it campaigned as a screwball comedy; it's not, as I don't think it's wacky enough. The film is more romantic; the comedy comes just after the middle of the film and it's good to have it there, but there's nothing hilarious in the story. I did laugh in the hitchhiking scene, which is very funny.
The films works well do to a great chemistry between Gable and Colbert. Both of them are good, especially Claudette, who's not just gorgeous (look at that perfect face!), but also super talented. The screenplay is light, but written well and the direction is simple, supporting the story and the actors. There really isn't anything bad to say about it; it's a very good film, more entertaining in the 2nd half. It probably did deserve all those Oscars.
My rating for the film: 8/10. It's smart feel good and Claudette is charming.

*** Originally an 8.5, edited to an 8 :)

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