IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (Frank Capra, 1934)

Frank Capra won an Oscar for directing It Happened One Night, penned by Robert Riskin (who also won an Oscar, as did the film) from a short story, “Night Bus,” by Samuel Hopkins Adams. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert—both Oscared for their most charming, fullest, most vulnerable performances—play newspaperman Peter Warne and Ellie Andrews, both traveling incognito on a bus that is otherwise teeming with raucous humanity, defiant in the face of the Great Depression. Warne hides his identity from Ellie because he hopes to scoop the story of her flight from her rich businessman father (Walter Connolly, wonderful) and new husband, aviator King Westley. Peter has recognized the spoiled heiress for who she is—and Ellie is hiding her identity not to be recognized by anybody. Wouldn’t you know that the two fall in love with each other? This changes Peter’s plans for “using” Ellie, who nonetheless, when she learns who Peter is, sees him as a mercenary chasing a paycheck and the reward that her father has offered for her return.
     In the course of this mellow though sparkling road comedy (which includes the most brilliantly funny hitch-hiking scene ever), gleamingly photographed by Joseph Walker, the pair of would-be lovers mask their reality and accommodate American moralism by pretending to be husband and wife: what, in fact, they increasingly want to be. At night, the “Walls of Jericho”—a blanket over a rope stretched and tied high and across the room—hang between them as each occupies a separate motel bed, enshrining propriety, loneliness. At the last, in a tickling, powerful scene, the Walls of Jericho come ceremoniously tumbling down, but between social classes as well as between sexual/moralistic inhibitions. It is a visual/symbolical variation on the American Dream.

B(U)Y THE BOOK

MY BOOK, A Short Chronology of World Cinema, IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE SANDS FILMS CINEMA CLUB IN LONDON. USING EITHER OF THE LINKS BELOW, ACCESS THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS BOOK, FROM WHICH YOU CAN ORDER ONE OR MORE COPIES OF IT. THANKS.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=16

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=19

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s