Friday, 28 January 2011

Holy Jumpin' Catfish! - A Post About "It Happened One Night"

I actually have a brand new obsession. I predict that I am going to become uncontrollably obsessed with It Happened One Night after I watched it this evening. At the weekend we ordered three brand new Frank Capra films, It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936) and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939). As you can imagine, I was all jumping up and down when they arrived, but I had to wait until today as I am now completely almost homework-less. I decided to start off with It Happened One Night. I adore Clark Gable and I think my little sister looks like Claudette Colbert. What could possibly go wrong? NOTHING, I TELL YOU!!!!! NOTHING!!!!!

It Happened One Night (1934)
Cast (Director, Frank Capra):

Rich daughter of wall street journalist Alexander Andrews, Ellie, has married fortune hunter, "King" Westly against her father's wishes. Before the marriage can be properly made official, Ellie is stolen away by her father and put on his boat with her. He threatens to annul the "Non-Existent" marriage, but Ellie has other ideas, and jumps off the boat and swims away from sight. Planning to run away on a night bus, hoping no one will recognize her and notify the police (who are now scouring America for her), Ellie bumps into wisecracking tough-edged newspaperman Peter Warne.
After an initially frosty start, they get to know each other and Peter ends up blackmailing her into letting him write a story about her stay away from home.
Blanket drawn...
At first she isn't crazy about the idea, but when her journey gets tough, Peter helps her along the way and she starts to fall for him (Sorry to interrupt the plot summary, but how could you not?) in secret.
Stranded and starving (and sleeping on hay) Peter gets some raw carrots for them to eat, but she refuses to eat them unless they are cooked.
She's like, "Really?"
Peter decides that there is no choice but to hitchhike. He tells her that there are three basic types of hitchhiking.
One: The independent *Short, quick, thumb up, backwards gesture*, The Smile (or something, I can't remember :-S) *Cheesy grin, backwards gesture with thumb up, shaking hand while moving it*, The Desperate one *Long sweeping gesture with hand, thumbs up, melancholy face*. None of them work. Suddenly, a long line of speeding cars drive past and he has to do them all in quick succession with no success. Exhausted, Peter dares Ellie to do any better. She goes up to the road and simply raises her skirt just above the knee.
A car immediately pulls up. After a series of unfortunate events, they settle in a hotel for the night. Ellie tells Peter that she loves him, but he seems to have no reaction, and because they insist on having a blanket drawn to separate the two halves of the room, Ellie doesn't see Peter leave the room.
Blanket still drawn.
She gives herself up to the police and is escorted home. It turns out, however, that Peter was going to collect some money from his newspaper firm so he can propose to Ellie. She gets engaged to her old beaux again, but just before the wedding, she tells her Father that she is still in love with Peter Warne, the man she met while she was on the road. Funnily enough, Peter has asked Ellie's father if he can repay him for the costs of looking after Ellie. While Peter is with him, Alexander asks Peter if he still loves Ellie. Peter says yes, and the next day, as Ellie is walking down the aisle, her father tells her that she is making a great mistake and that Peter still loves her. She runs away and she and Peter are together at last.

Yay!!! *Happy dance* :-)

Frank Capra, Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable
This has to be one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Not only is Frank Capra a spectacular director, but Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable is one of the best screen pairings ever! The plot reminds me a little of Roman Holiday if Audrey Hepburn knew that the man was actually a newspaperman. I have to start using Clark Gable's OMG phrase, "Holy jumpin' catfish!". When Clark and Claudette are on the hay in that forest...

This film is just amazing, and I will never look at a raw carrot in the same way again. Nor will I ever get over Clark Gable in this film... Watching all these amazing people in films (as well as my own awesome family who watch them with me) are setting my standards of people communication ridiculously high. It can't be good for me.

If you'll excuse me, I intend to read Bette Davis' autobiography until the small hours of the morning go to sleep.



Page said...

I certainly understand your enthusiasm for this picture! It puts a smile on my face every time I see it re-aired and I never miss the chance to see Clark and Claudette together in one of Hollywood's best early comedies.

Peter Swanson said...

I've seen many romantic comedies from many decades and I do believe this is the best one ever made.

ClassicBecky said...

Bette, I just LOVE It Happened One Night. You are so right -- the chemistry between Colbert and Gable is electrifying. I still get tickled when teh bugle blows and the "walls of Jericho" come tumbling down! Loved your article, and all the wonderful pictures!

Anonymous said...

Saw it recently for the first time... sweet. Probably would first vote for Bringing up Baby with Hepburn and Cary Grant. But still liked it a lot. Mike E.

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