It Happened One Night

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It Happened One Night is a 1934 American comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed by Frank Capra, in which a pampered socialite (Claudette Colbert) tries to get out from under her father's thumb, and falls in love with a roguish reporter (Clark Gable). The plot was based on the story Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams, which provided the shooting title. It Happened One Night was one of the last film romantic comedies created before the MPAA began enforcing the 1930 production code in 1934. In spite of its title the movie takes place over several nights and, although it was said here that "none (of the nights) is particularly key to the plot", that is not true. It is importantly the way the nights go that achieve the dynamic that wins the day for both hero and heroine.

The film was the first to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), a feat that would not be matched until One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and later by The Silence of the Lambs (1991). In 1993, It Happened One Night was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It was remade as a 1956 musical comedy, You Can't Run Away from It, starring Jack Lemmon and June Allyson.



Spoiled heiress Ellen "Ellie" Andrews (Claudette Colbert) marries fortune-hunter "King" Westley (Jameson Thomas) against the wishes of her extremely wealthy father (Walter Connolly). He retrieves his daughter before the marriage can be consummated, but then she runs away. Boarding a bus to New York City, to reunite with her new spouse, she meets fellow bus passenger Peter Warne (Clark Gable), an out-of-work newspaper reporter. He recognizes her and gives her a choice: if she will give him an exclusive on her story he will help her reunite with Westley. If not he will tell her father where she is and collect the reward her Father has offered for her safe return. Ellie agrees to the first choice.

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