Wednesday, February 24, 2010

#60 It Happened One Night: I'll stop a car, and I won't use my thumb

1934. dir. Frank Capra, starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert.

Seen it before? No.

Claudette Colbert plays Ellie, a wealthy socialite who escapes her domineering father and takes a bus from Miami to New York to meet her husband. Along the way she meets Peter, a recently fired reporter. Peter agrees not to report her to her father in exchange for her story, which is the scoop he needs to get back into the newspaper game. The two of them encounter several mishaps along the way, and become close to each other, and, well, you can guess what happens.

The reason you can guess what happens is because this is the mother of all romantic comedies. (well, it came out 75 years ago, so it's more like the grandmother of all romantic comedies.) Many of the elements of this movie are now time-worn cliches: They "meet cute", she's a spoiled princess, they hate each other at first, grow to like each other, big misunderstanding-driven plot device to keep them apart, big wedding finale to decoy guy at the end. Yes, Runaway Bride, congratulations, you ripped off a movie made while FDR was president. Real creative.

Clark Gable's character is a real jerk. He's constantly insulting poor Ellie, pointing out all of her flaws, telling her to shut up, etc. He slaps her at one point. Unfortunately a lot of newer rom-coms use this trope of the man expressing his affection by belittling her...

This was a pretty funny movie. I liked the part where Clark Gable was crunching on the carrot ala Bugs Bunny. Also the part where Claudette Colbert lifted her skirt to get the car to stop. How many times have we seen somebody do that!

Position on the list: 145
The sweep: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress. Two other movies pulled off this feat: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Silence of the Lambs. We'll get to those later...

1 comment:

  1. I was waiting for you guys to see this one! It is one of my Favs! I of course see Mr Bulter every time I see Clark Gable so maybe that is why. There were some surprise innuendos in there too! blushing. anyway I liked it :)