Film Review: It Happened One Night – 8/10

‘I want to see what love looks like when it’s triumphant...’

It Happened One Night is often my retort to my wife when she asks me what became of all the biscuits we had in the house. ‘Oh… it happened one night’, I respond, whilst staring wistfully into the middle distance. Good times. Alas, this is not a film about biscuits. But it is a film directed by Frank Capra, the man responsible for It’s A Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes to Washington, a man who is a truly a master of his craft. This is also a film that boasts Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in the leading roles and a big, golden statuette for Best Picture. In short… it’s a heavyweight.

Roving reporter Peter Warne (Gable) forms one half of an unlikely odd couple with Ellie Andrews (Colbert) – an unpredictable heiress. Sparks fly and angels sing but Warne takes no notice of any of it because he’s too damn busy being incredulous about everything. Goddamn editor up his ass. Cops bursting into his hotel room. Dumb broad won’t stop talking. All the usual problems for a guy in America in the 30s.

I will start by saying that my only real previous experience of Gable comes from being forced to sit through Gone With the Wind as a child, an act that is surely tantamount to child abuse. It was refreshing then to see why Gable is considered one of the all time greats. He is phenomenal here, racing through Robert Riskin’s exceptional screenplay like a guy with a train to catch. He shares a wonderful chemistry with Colbert who manages to make a naive rich girl likeable and even relatable.

While It Happened One Night is far from Capra’s best work, it is a Best Picture winner deserving of winning Best Picture. I loved it.