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It Happened One Night (1934)

Unrated | | Comedy, Romance | 23 February 1934 (USA)
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A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

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(screen play), (based on the short story by)
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Top Rated Movies #182 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Andrews
...
...
Westley
...
Danker
Arthur Hoyt ...
Zeke
Blanche Friderici ...
Zeke's Wife
...
Gordon
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Storyline

Ellie Andrews has just tied the knot with society aviator King Westley when she is whisked away to her father's yacht and out of King's clutches. Ellie jumps ship and eventually winds up on a bus headed back to her husband. Reluctantly she must accept the help of out-of- work reporter Peter Warne. Actually, Warne doesn't give her any choice: either she sticks with him until he gets her back to her husband, or he'll blow the whistle on Ellie to her father. Either way, Peter gets what (he thinks!) he wants .... a really juicy newspaper story. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Together for the first time! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 February 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night Bus  »

Box Office

Budget:

$325,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut TV)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Claudette Colbert, under contract to Paramount, had four weeks free, but she was also a hard sell. She'd made her first film, For the Love of Mike (1927), with Frank Capra directing, and it had been a disaster, so she was not excited about repeating the experience. What did excite her, however, was the prospect of making $50,000 for four weeks of work, since her Paramount salary was $25,000 per film. So she willingly agreed to do it, but, at the same time, she gave Capra a hard time. See more »

Goofs

When Peter is driving a car with Ellie beside him, she puts a scarf around her neck which repeatedly changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Ellie Andrews: We'll get on a merry-go-round and never get off. Promise me we'll never get off.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Best Years: It Happened One Night (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf
(uncredited)
Written by Frank Churchill and Ann Ronell
Sung a cappella by Clark Gable
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Travel back in time, to the days when romantic comedies had not yet evolved into chick flicks
28 November 1999 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

I was inspired to think of other films with completely mystifying titles. `The Phantom Menace', obviously. Also: `The Shop Around the Corner' (around the corner from WHERE?), `The Empire Strikes Back' (it doesn't), `The Living Daylights', `True Lies', `Batman Forever', `Species', `The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' ... if anyone has any more suggestions, please send them to me.

In this case, it happens over several nights, and I'm not sure which particular night is being referred to. Probably one of the candidate nights is less unobvious than the rest; so I guess the title isn't COMPLETELY mystifying. But actually, Capra gives us the feeling that everything is up in the air. Everyone knows that the hero and heroine of romantic comedies are bound to get hitched in the end - in most cases it's simply a question of staying awake. But Capra makes us feel the contingency of it all. I, for one, was convinced that right up until the final moment, it could have gone either way. How did Capra manage this? Was it because he was a complete innocent; or was it because he was remarkably sophisticated? I don't suppose it matters: it's results that count.

I'm glad to see very little mention among the comments about the sexism of it all. The characters have life; their words have life; and if such art as this could only be produced by a sexist society, it's almost worth creating a sexist society (and then dismantling it), in order to get the art. In modern romances I get the feeling that the writers are wearily writing `feisty' lines for the heroine in an attempt to fool feminists, who, by and large, aren't so easily fooled. Claudette Colbert isn't feisty. When she DOES assert her independence, she means it.

(And, of course, when Clark Gable asserts his dominance, HE means it. You don't get sincerity like this these days.)

Anyway, the ideology of a film, if there is one, is always beside the point, except inasmuch as the ideology is AESTHETICALLY attractive or unattractive. This is an attractive film. Two real individuals, a real story, some misunderstanding but no tiresome or pointless misunderstanding, constant wit

  • and, as I expressed amazement at earlier, constant suspense. And if THAT


isn't enough to get you to watch it, note that it was released in 1934. The Hayes code didn't come into effect until 1935. Not a moment too late.


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