For my current writing project, I am watching, ranking, and reviewing every film to win The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar for Best Picture. Below, is my review of the 1935 winner, "It Happened One Night."
Plot: A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.
Director: Frank Capra, Writers: Robert Riskin, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly
Review: Of the seven films I have watched so far, “It Happened One Night” is by far the funniest. For the 2018 Academy Awards, it would be unthinkable for a comedy to win the best picture. In 1934, it happened. Sure, this film has some dramatic moments, but the bulk of it is written to make you laugh.
As you can imagine, Clark Gable steals the show here. He will end up doing that a couple more times throughout his illustrious career. Playing a reporter in desperate need of a story, he runs into an heiress who has run away from home. As they make the journey to New York from Miami via bus, we get the first iteration of a story that is still being told today, “Jim and Pam.” For those of us who were obsessed with the American version of “The Office,” we spent a lot of time wondering if Jim and Pam would get together. You are going to spend much of this film wondering if Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert will do the same.
The energy they present on screen is hilarious, alluring, and magical. They play off of each other fantastically and make us believe they would be a fantastic couple. Of course, things are complicated by the simple fact that our heiress is a missing person and her face is splashed all over every newspaper in the United States. At this point, the movie could either become a love story or a tale of settling and a reporter who will do anything to get a story. As the heiress’ father does everything in his power to find his daughter, we are left guessing until the very end. There are moments when riding off into the sunset seems so far away. That is the magic of this film. It keeps you guessing and is anything but formulaic.
Cinema has always been obsessed with a good love story. Beyond the topic of war, it may be the thing we like watching the most. This film begins a long tradition of romantic comedies. Few will rise to the heights of winning an Oscar, but an award-worthy genre was born here. If for no other reason, this film is worth your time.
Best Picture Ranking (So Far)
It Happened One Night
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Broadway Melody
Be good to each other,
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