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5 ~ It Happened One Night

21 Jan

In one of the first and best “screwball” comedies of all time, It Happened One Night went on to win all five major Academy Awards. This feat would not be matched until One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and later by The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Even though the title is called It Happened One Night, the movie spans several days and nights, and in one scene when Clark Gable’s character takes of his shirt and reveals a bare chest, undershirt sales plummet.

A Spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews, played perfectly by Claudette Colbert 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.
She boards a bus, where she meets Peter Warne (Gable), 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 King, otherwise he will tell her father where she is and collect the reward. She agrees.
Various adventures follow. One of the most famous scenes on film, happens when they have to hitchhike. Peter claims to be an expert on the subject, but nothing works and eventually, out of frustration, he ends up thumbing his nose at passing cars. The sheltered Ellie then shows him how it’s done. She stops the next car dead in its tracks by lifting up her skirt and showing off a shapely leg.

Both Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert were “loaned” out to Columbia Pictures, against their wishes, but later came to love the film, and it’s director, Frank Capra. They both went on to win Oscars for their role in what would become one of the 100 Greatest Films.
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