IHON Title

Director: Frank Capra
Actors: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

Like other screwballs, this movie exhibits the classic madcap heiress, Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert). Ellie is on the run from her father, who wants to annul her marriage to King Westley, a local playboy. While on the road, she runs into streetwise Peter Warren (Clark Gable) who immediately gets under her skin. The newspapers are covering the story of the runaway heiress, as the public is fascinated by the rich (see Philadelphia Story), and her pictures are all over the papers. Peter discovers her identity and decides to help her get to New York, he hides her from detectives and teaches her what its like to be a "real" person. Inevitably after much bickering, they gain mutual respect and grow fond of each other. In the end, Ellie abandons King Westley at the altar (inexplicably, they were getting married again) and runs off with Peter and her father's blessing.
"It Happened One Night" is one of the first screwballs. Directed by Frank Capra, its a movie nobody even wanted to be in in the first place. Clark Gable was only there because MGM sent him to Columbia pictures to punish him for being a "bad boy." His attitude apparently made his costar Claudette Colbert uncomfortable. Capra later claimed that he was so bored with the movie that he just got fed up with editing it and never finished his work. It is true that the movie seems a little overlong, but its also true that it got Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.


Click for trailer
Click for trailer

Reviews and Publicity

The New York Times loved this film. See the review...

Back to the Home Page The Screwball and Its Audience Go to the Movies What did the Critics Think?