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It Happened One Night
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It Happened One Night

4.4 27
Director: Frank Capra

Cast: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly


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Frank Capra's seminal screwball comedy, which won all five major Academy Awards for 1934, is still as breezy and beguiling today. Claudette Colbert plays Ellie Andrews, a spoiled heiress who has married fortune-hunting aviator King Westley (Jameson Thomas), despite her father (Walter Connolly)'s objections. To keep Ellie from marrying this lothario, her father has


Frank Capra's seminal screwball comedy, which won all five major Academy Awards for 1934, is still as breezy and beguiling today. Claudette Colbert plays Ellie Andrews, a spoiled heiress who has married fortune-hunting aviator King Westley (Jameson Thomas), despite her father (Walter Connolly)'s objections. To keep Ellie from marrying this lothario, her father has been holding her prisoner aboard his yacht. But Ellie bolts from the yacht, swims ashore in her clothes, and eventually slips onto a Greyhound bus bound for New York. Aboard the bus is newspaper reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable), who has recently been fired for drinking on the job. Peter gets the last seat on the bus -- but when he gets up to argue with the bus driver, Ellie takes his seat. Since it is the last seat on the bus, they have to share it. When Ellie has her purse stolen and she refuses to report it, Peter begins to suspect something. The next morning, they both miss the bus after a leisurely breakfast, and Peter reveals that he knows her identity. She makes a deal with him: if he helps her get to New York, he can write a scoop about her for his paper. Peter thinks she is a spoiled brat, however, and refuses a monetary bribe: "I'm not interested in your money or your problem. You, King Westley, your father -- you're all a lot of hooey to me!" But as they travel northward and engage in a series of misadventures, the gruff newspaperman and the spoiled rich girl, thrown together by circumstances, fall in love with each other. This movie set the pace for the "screwball" comedy, the witty and romantic clash of temperaments between a man and a woman mismatched in both personality and social position, a type of movie often associated with Katherine Hepburn in such classics as Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and, with Spencer Tracy, Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), and Desk Set (1957), among others. The only other movies to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Screenplay) were One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
The first of the delightful screwball comedies of the 1930s, It Happened One Night was also the first film to sweep up every major Academy Award. It is one of those movies where all the elements came together magically: Robert Riskin's charming script, Frank Capra's superb direction, and two sparkling performances by Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, whose chemistry as the sparring rich girl/poor boy duo lights up the screen. Undershirt sales plummeted when Gable appeared in the famous motel room scene without one; he was never sexier than as the rough-and-tumble newspaper reporter chasing Colbert's runaway heiress, on her way to New York City by bus to elope with a gigolo. Unfolding against a richly atmospheric backdrop of Depression-era America, It Happened One Night combines Capra's trademark populism with humor and madcap romance. It remains the gold standard for romantic comedies.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Scripted by Capra's frequent collaborator Robert Riskin, Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934) became the prototypical screwball comedy and elevated Columbia Pictures from Poverty Row status to respectable "major minor" studio. Starring Clark Gable, on loan from MGM as punishment, and Claudette Colbert, on loan from Paramount for twice her usual pay, Capra's and Riskin's comic romance between a down-to-earth newspaper reporter and a spoiled runaway heiress set the standard for screwball. Its fast-paced repartee, kooky heroine, witty gags, and class-crossing love story became hallmarks of the genre in such later films as My Man Godfrey (1936) and Bringing Up Baby (1938); the overt lustiness barred by the 1934 Production Code was transmuted into clever banter and the romance conveyed an ideal Depression-era fantasy. A critical and commercial hit, It Happened One Night was the first film to sweep the top five Oscars, rewarding Capra, Riskin, Gable, and Colbert, and fulfilling Columbia impresario Harry Cohn's desire to turn his B-studio into a class act. Undershirt sales reportedly plummeted when Gable revealed on screen that he wasn't wearing one.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Frank Capra, Jr. Remembers... It Happened One Night; Commentary by Frank Capra, Jr.; Original live radio broadcast; Vintage advertising gallery; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Clark Gable Peter Warne
Claudette Colbert Ellie Andrews
Walter Connolly Alexander Andrews
Roscoe Karns Oscar Shapeley
Jameson Thomas King Westley
Claire McDowell Mother
Alan Hale Danker
Ernie S. Adams Actor
Irving Bacon Station Attendant
Ward Bond Bus Driver
Harry C. Bradley Henderson
George Breakston Boy
Charles D. Brown Reporter
James Burke Actor
Edmund Burns Best Man
Douglas Carter Actor
Eddy Chandler Bus Driver
Wallis Clark Lovington
Joseph Crehan Detective
Mickey Daniels Vender
Eva Dennison Society Woman
Neal Dodd Minister
Oliver Eckhardt Dykes
Billy Engle Actor
Bess Flowers Secretary
Blanche Frederici Zeke's Wife
Kit Guard Bus Passenger
Sherry Hall Reporter
Frank Holliday Actor
Harry Holman Auto Camp Manager
Arthur Hoyt Zeke
Eddie Kane Radio Announcer
Milt Kibbee Reporter
Earl Pingree Actor
Hal Price Reporter
Tom Ricketts Prissy Old Man
Matty Roubert Newsboy
Bert Starkey Actor
Harry Todd Flag Man
Maidel Turner Manager's Wife
Henry Wadsworth Drunk Boy
Fred Walton Butler
Dave Wengren Actor
Charles Wilson Joe Gordon
Frank Yaconelli Tony
Ky Robinson Actor
Ethel Sykes Maid of Honor

Technical Credits
Frank Capra Director,Producer
Edward Bernds Sound Mixer
Harry Cohn Producer
Stephen Goosson Art Director
Gene Havlick Editor
Robert Kalloch Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Riskin Screenwriter
Louis Silvers Musical Direction/Supervision
Joseph Walker Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- It Happened One Night
1. Start [1:02]
2. Hunger Strike [2:32]
3. History In the Making [2:25]
4. Last Seats [3:08]
5. Stolen Luggage [3:46]
6. "Wait For Me." [1:40]
7. Missed Connections [3:12]
8. Collect Telegram [:46]
9. "My Name's Shapeley." [4:39]
10. Dyke's Auto Camp [3:49]
11. Walls of Jericho [7:31]
12. Ladies Shower [1:31]
13. Art of Dunking [2:31]
14. "Quit Bawlin'!" [4:51]
15. "The Man On the Flying Trapeze" [4:31]
16. "Machine Gun" Shapeley [6:09]
17. Haystacks For Two [5:14]
18. Hitchhiker's Guide [4:30]
19. Road Thief [5:54]
20. Cabin For the Night [9:16]
21. On the Level [1:35]
22. "You'll Have To Get." [3:18]
23. Ellie Goes Home [4:27]
24. "What's the Matter?" [7:04]
25. $39.60 [4:28]
26. The Wedding [2:26]
27. Runaway Bride [:35]
28. "Let 'em Topple." [1:56]


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It Happened One Night 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am very disappointed by the Criterion Blu Ray edition - very poor restoration, extremely grainy picture which is sometimes too dark, sometimes too washed out. If you're not willing to do the job right, don't do it at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful: It one best picture for a reason, especially since it was a comedy! With Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert leading this film you won't find anything wrong. This is another masterpiece by the legendary Frank Captra. Get it, your missing out! 
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Chaquita-Philly More than 1 year ago
How can this movie be in such rotten shape. Please restore this Classic to it's former glory. "Columbia Classics" should be ashamed of themselves whoever they are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love old movies and this is the first one I saw with Clark Gable...love him!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a truly fun movie to watch, time and again. This is a very funny film, and the passage of time has done little to diminish the humor in this film. Claudette Colbert won a Best Actress award for this film and absolutely deserved it. At the end of this film you really want the main characters to be together.
QEJE More than 1 year ago
oldie but a great movie. After all it IS Clark Gable
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite film (tied with the equally wonderful ''Amelie'')!!! What wit and humor! Sly sexual innuendos, hilarious quips (''Hey, brat.'' ''Are you talking to ME?'') and a totally lovable love story! This is such a great film, I just can't tell you, so go see it!
TJ_Darren More than 1 year ago
This was the first movie to win all of the top five categories of the Academy Award: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Plenty of laughs and romance. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are perfect in their roles and have great chemistry. It's a must have for any collector of classic movies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My absolute all time favorite film!!A love story to end all love stories, and yet it doesn't have a kiss, a nude scene, or a nasty word in it. All aspects of this film are tops -- lighting, sound, acting, and directing. A window to a different time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'It Happened One Night' is the story of Peter Warren (Clark Gable), the happy go lucky newspaper hound who discovers that missing heiress, Ellie McPherson (Claudette Colbert) is actually traveling with him on the cross country night bus. Determined to expose Ellie, Peter finds himself falling for her instead. Director Frank Capra's original road trip movie gives us some real gems, not the least of which is watching Ellie hoist her skirt up to passer-bys on the open road in order to secure suitable transportation. Colbert, not always the most congenial of stars, absolutely refused to make this picture and had to be strong armed by Columbia chief, Harry Cohn. While working, Colbert reportedly didn¿t try very hard at playing her part, was constantly in conflict with Capra and, after principle photography was completed, stormed off the set declaring that this was the worst picture she had ever made. Small irony that the role Colbert liked the least is the one which garnered her only Best Actress Oscar. Gable, who had been loaned out by MGM as punishment for refusing to do a part in one of their pictures, took home the Best Actor statuette. So much for punishing `the king¿! Unfortunately, Columbia Home Video's presentation of this Academy Award winning masterwork is punishment enough. While the film has had extensive restoration, thanks to the Library of Congress, the DVD exhibits a generally soft picture with slightly out of focus images. Some scenes are so blurry that they suggest a dupe negative was cut into the first generation camera negative. There is some aliasing and shimmering, as well as an almost total loss of fine details during many of the scenes taking place at night.. The soundtrack has been restored as well but continues to exhibit a scratchy background hiss and distracting pops with varying degrees of audibility. The one extra worth mentioning is 'Frank Capra Jr. Remembers...' a snippet in which the son of the director talks about his father and the movie. It's too short but interesting nevertheless.
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