It Happened One Night (1934) Poster


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Clark Gable gave his Oscar for It Happened One Night (1934) to a child who admired it, telling him it was the winning of the statue that had mattered, not owning it. The child returned the Oscar to the Gable family after Clark's death.
While shooting the scene where he undresses, Clark Gable had trouble removing his undershirt while keeping his humorous flow going and took too long. As a result, the undershirt was abandoned altogether. It then became cool to not wear an undershirt, which resulted in a large drop in undershirt sales around the country. Legend has it that in response, some underwear manufacturers tried to sue Columbia.
This was the first film to win the Oscar "grand slam" (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay).
Friz Freleng's unpublished memoirs mention that this was one of his favorite films, and that it contains at least three things which the character "Bugs Bunny" was based on: the character Oscar Shapely's (Roscoe Karns) personality, the manner in which Peter Warne (Clark Gable) was eating carrots and talking quickly at the same time, and an imaginary character mentioned once to frighten Oscar Shapely named "Bugs Dooley." Other mentions of "Looney Tunes" characters from the film include Alexander Andrews (Walter Connolly) and King Westley (Jameson Thomas) being the inspirations for Yosemite Sam and Pepé Le Pew, respectively.
Director Frank Capra came up with the idea about "the walls of Jericho" because Claudette Colbert refused to undress in front of the camera.
Claudette Colbert complained nearly every day during the making of the film. On the last day of shooting, she told a friend "I just finished making the worst picture I've ever made".
Constance Bennett and Myrna Loy, among others, turned the script down. Claudette Colbert only accepted because Capra promised he would double her salary and she would be done in four weeks. She disliked the film so much, however, that she did not even attend the Oscars; when she won for Best Actress, she was found about to leave on a trip and was rushed to the ceremony, where she made her acceptance speech in a traveling suit.
According to William L. Shirer's "Berlin Diary", It Happened One Night (1934) was one of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin's favorite movies.
This film holds the record, along with Gigi (1958), The Last Emperor (1987) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) for winning all the awards in every single major category in which it was nominated for at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
When Clark Gable showed up for work on the first day, he reportedly said, grimly, "Let's get this over with."
When director Frank Capra asked Claudette Colbert to expose her leg for the hitchhiking scene, she initially refused. Later, after having seen the leg of her body double, she changed her mind, insisting that "that is not my leg!"
Is often credited as the very first screwball comedy.
Columbia Pictures was considered a "poverty row" studio at the time of the film's release. Both MGM and Warner Bros. would lend out temperamental actors to Columbia as a "humbling experience." Studio boss Harry Cohn, who loathed paying for his own roster of contract stars during the early 30's, would invariably assign them to work on Frank Capra's films. Although the studio had received Oscar nominations prior to this picture, its success virtually single-handedly lifted Columbia out of the ranks of poverty row.
Claudette Colbert was so convinced that she would lose the Oscar competition in 1935 to write-in nominee Bette Davis that she decided not to attend the awards ceremony. When she won that year, contrary to her belief, for her performance in It Happened One Night (1934), she was summoned from a train station to pick up her Oscar.
Clark Gable was loaned to this film by MGM as punishment for his affair with Joan Crawford.
Clark Gable arrived for his first meeting with Frank Capra drunk, rude, and angry. In spite of this inauspicious beginning, they eventually became friends.
Robert Montgomery turned down the male lead, saying the script was the worst thing he had ever read. Fredric March also refused the part.
The first Academy Award Best Picture nominee to win both Best Actor and Best Actress.
Bette Davis wanted the role of Ellie, but Warner Bros. refused to loan her.
Frank Capra grew concerned when so many stars rejected his script and he turned to playwright Myles Connolly for advice. The writer thought the characters could be made more sympathetic and he made constructive suggestions, which were incorporated into the script within a week.
The $100,000 King Westley accepts not to contest the annulment is worth $1,771,888.06, as of 2014.
Was the first film to win both the Academy Award and National Board of Review Award for the Best Picture.
According to Frank Capra, Claudette Colbert was the sixth actress that was offered the lead role. Colbert reluctantly accepted the role turned down by the other five actresses when Capra agreed to double her salary and guarantee that Colbert only had to work for four weeks or less.
[June 2008] Ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Romantic Comedy".
According to Frank Capra in an interview with Richard Schickel for The Men Who Made the Movies, "We made the picture really quickly-- four weeks. We stumbled through it, we laughed our way through it. And this goes to show you how much luck and timing and being in the right place at the right time means in show business; how sometimes no preparation at all is better than all the preparation in the world, and sometimes you need great preparation, but you can never out-guess this thing called creativity. It happens in the strangest places and under the strangest of circumstances. I didn't care much for the picture, ] it turned out to be It Happened One Night."
The first of only three films to win every major Academy Award, including Best Picture.
At the Miami bus station, friends of Peter Warne (Clark Gable) refer to him as "the King", which was Gable's nickname in real life.
Myrna Loy, Capra's first choice, turned down the role of Ellie Andrews because a recent film set on a bus had failed, and she didn't think that this one would succeed. Margaret Sullivan, Miriam Hopkins, Carole Lombard, and Constance Bennett also turned the script down.
It is widely believed that MGM ensured their contracted star Clark Gable would receive the Best Actor Oscar to promote his career at the studio. Only three actors were nominated that year, and it was widely believed Charles Laughton would have easily won for his highly acclaimed performance as the tyrannical father in The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) had he received a nomination.
Since this movie was filmed near the end of 1933, all of the actors are of course no longer alive. The last surviving credited (and possibly uncredited as well) cast member was the star, Claudette Colbert, who died in 1996 at the age of 92, 62 years after this film's initial release. As the last survivor of this film, she was dumbfounded at it's continued popularity decades later for a film that neither she nor Clark Gable wanted to do.
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.
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Frank Capra, the director, makes a cameo as one of the passengers on the bus singing the third couplet of "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze".
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the humorous movie on Monday evening, March 20th, 1939 with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable reprising their character film roles.
Carole Lombard turned down the role of Ellie. Ironically, she would later marry Clark Gable.
King Westley's autogyro was a Kellett K-3 registered NC12691. It also appeared in the film International House (1933).
According to a New York Times article dated February 23rd, 1934, the Silly Symphonies short "The China Shop" was featured after this film.
In 2006, Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time."
Several actors in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in this movie. These were (with their character names): Henry Wadsworth (Drunk Boy), Eddie Kane (Radio Announcer), Charlie Hall (Reporter) and Tom Ricketts (Prissy Old Man).
Miriam Hopkins and Margaret Sullavan turned down the role of Ellie. Harry Cohn suggested Loretta Young, who had starred in Frank Capra's Platinum Blonde (1931), but the director wasn't interested.
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The locomotive that holds up Peter Warne, supposedly in New Jersey, is a Southern Pacific 2-6-0 Mogul, number 1662, class M-4, built by the Cooke Works of the American Locomotive Company, commonly known as ALCO.
When Peter Warne is being held up by an SP Train, the location was on Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia, California, just north of Huntington Drive. The tracks where Warne is stopped were part of the SP Day and Night Spur. The tracks and crossing signs seen in the background were the Pacific Electric. Another block north and out of sight were the Santa Fe tracks. Santa Anita was called Double Drive at the time, and the normal southbound lanes are just visible to the left, but the convoy carrying Ellie, Andrews and Westley pass Warne in the northbound lane headed south. The trees in the center median, which was an equestrian path, were cut down in the 1950s.
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In 1996, Steven Spielberg anonymously purchased Clark Gable's Oscar to protect it from further commercial exploitation, gave it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, commenting that he could think of "no better sanctuary for Gable's only Oscar than the Motion Picture Academy".
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Claudette Colbert was so convinced that she would lose the Oscar to write-in nominee Bette Davis that she didn't attended the ceremony originally. She was summoned from a train station to pick up her Academy Award.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Claudette Colbert only wears four different outfits throughout the course of the film: a flimsy nightgown at the beginning, her traveling suit, Clark Gable's pajamas, and her wedding dress.

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