2 It Happened One Night.jpg

2 - It Happened One Night (1934)

Spoilt heiress Ellen Andrews (Claudette Colbert) marries fortune-hound "King" Westley (Jameson Thomas) to spite her well-wishing, but controlling father (Walter Connolly). When he announces that he's planning to have the marriage annulled, she escapes from him, disappearing into the backroads of New York State, causing a media panic as the country wonders where she could be.

Ellen is recognised by Peter Warne (Clark Gable), a wise-cracking, unemployed reporter, who offers to help her in exchange for the story of her flight. Fumbling their way towards New York through a sea of oddballs and obstacles on the road, it's not long before the mismatched two begin to fall in love.

The blueprint that a multitude of film makers followed, Frank Capra's clash-of-wills comedy remains an entrancing romantic treat to this day. A smash hit upon release, it was the first movie to win all five major Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Writing), and was so influential that the sight of a bare-chested Gable caused sales of vests to decline sharply. Everyone loved it. Even Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin declared themselves to be fans.

It's not hard to see why. The relationship between the pampered Ellen and the blue-collared Warne bewitches to this day. Whatever problems Colbert, Gable and Capra may have had on set (apparently they were numerous), it doesn't show on screen.

Colbert was never better, her arrogant facade slipping now and then to reveal a tender, vulnerable girl, and while it would be five years until Gable's most iconic role in 'Gone With The Wind', from here on in Hollywood had a new King.

Magic Moment: Hitch-hiking.

Go to Number 1

It Happened One Night [DVD]
£4.50
Starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Alan Hale