It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night is a 1934 American Pre-Code romantic comedy movie with Elements of screwball comedy directed and co-produced by Frank Capra , in cooperation withHarry Cohn , in qui 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 is based on the August 1933 short story “Night Bus” by Samuel Hopkins Adams , which provided the shooting title. One of the last romantic comedies created before the MPAA Began enforcing the 1930 Production codein 1934, the film was released on February 22, 1934. [4]

It Happened One Night Was the first movie to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay) . In 1993, It Happened One Night was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress , being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. [5] In 2013, the film underwent an extensive restoration. [6] [7]


Spoiled heiress Ellen “Ellie” Andrews has eloped with pilot and fortune-hunter “King” Westley against the wishes of her extremely wealthy father, Alexander Andrews. Andrews wants to get married because he knows Westley is really interested in her money. Jumping ship in Florida, she runs to Greyhound in New York City to meet her husband. She meets fellow passenger Peter Warne, a freshly out-of-work newspaper reporter. Soon Warne makes her 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. Ellie agrees to the first choice.

As they go through several adventures together, Ellie loses her initial disdain for him and begins to fall in love. When they have to hitchhike , they fail to secure a ride until the next driver. When they stop on the road, Danker tries to steal their luggage but Peter seizes his car. Nearing the end of their journey, Ellie confesses her love to Peter. When the owners of the motel in which they are living notice that Peter’s gone, they expel Ellie. Believing Peter has deserted her, Ellie telephones her father, who agrees to let her marry Westley. Meanwhile, Peter has got money from his editor to marry Ellie, but he misses her on the road. Although Ellie has no desire to be with Westley, she believes Peter has betrayed her for the reward and agrees to have a second, formal wedding to Westley.

On the wedding day, she finally reveals the whole story. When Peter comes to Ellie’s home, Mr. Andrews offers him the reward money, but Peter insists on being paid only a paltry $ 39.60. When Ellie’s father presses him for an explanation of his odd behavior, Peter admits he loves Ellie and storms out. Westley arrives for his wedding via autogyro ; but at the ceremony, Andrews reveals to his daughter Peter’s refusal of the reward money, sends her to Peter, and Westley country off.

Main cast

  • Clark Gable as Peter Warne, a recently fired newspaper reporter
  • Claudette Colbert and Ellen “Ellie” Andrews, spoiled heiress of millions
  • Walter Connolly as Andrews Alexander, Ellie’s father and a millionaire
  • Roscoe Karns as Oscar Shapeley, an annoying passenger bus who tries to pick up Ellie
  • Jameson Thomas as “King” Westley, Ellie’s fiancé (or husband); a pilot and fortune-hunter
  • Alan Hale as Danker, who wants to steal the suitcase
  • Arthur Hoyt as Zeke, a motel owner
  • White Friderici as Zeke’s wife
  • Charles C. Wilson as Joe Gordon, newspaper editor Peter’s boss
Uncredited roles
  • Ernie Adams as the Bag Thief
  • Irving Bacon Station Attendant
  • George Breakston as Boy Passenger Bus whose mother collapsed
  • Ward Bond as Bus Driver # 1
  • Eddy Chandler as Bus Driver # 2
  • Mickey Daniels as a Vendor on bus
  • Bess Flowers as Agnes, Gordon’s Secretary
  • Harry Holman has the Auto Camp Manager at the end of the movie
  • Claire McDowell Mother in the bus
  • Harry Todd as Flagman at Railroad Crossing
  • Maidel Turner has the Auto Camp Manager’s Wife
  • Wallis Clark as Lovington


Neither Gable nor Colbert was the first choice to play the lead roles. Miriam Hopkins first rejected the part of Ellie. Robert Montgomery and Myrna Loy were then offered to the roles, but each turned down the script, though Loy later noted that the final story has been filmed against the background of Montgomery had been offered for their perusal. [8]Margaret Sullavan also rejected the part. [9] Constance Bennett was willing to play the role if she could produce the film herself; however, Columbia Pictures would not allow this. Then Bette Davis wanted the role, [10] aim Was under contract withWarner Brothers and Jack Warner refused to lend her. [11] Carole Lombard was unable to accept, because the filming schedule conflicted with that of Bolero . [12] Loretta Young also turned it down. [13]

Harry Cohn suggests Colbert, and she started the role down. [14] Colbert’s first film, For the Love of Mike (1927), had been directed by Capra, and it was such a disaster that it was never again. Later on, she Agreed to Appear in It Happened One Night only if her salary Was Doubled to $ 50,000, and aussi que la provided on the filming of her role be completed in four weeks so That She Could take her well-planned vacation. [15]

According to Hollywood legend, Gable was slow to Columbia Pictures , then considered a minor studio, as some kind of “punishment” for refusing a role at his own studio. This tale has been partially refuted by more recent biographies. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer did not have a project ready for Gable, and the studio was paying him $ 2,000 per week or worked. Louis B. Mayer slow him to Columbia for $ 2,500 per week, hence netting $ 500 per week while he was gone. [16] Capra, however, insisted that Gable was a reluctant participant in the film. [17]

Filming began in a tense atmosphere as Gable and Colbert were dissatisfied with the quality of the script. However, Capra understood their dissatisfaction and let screenwriter Robert Riskin rewrite the script. [16] Colbert, however, continued to show her displeasure on the set. She also initially balked at pulling up her skirt to provide a ride, complaining that it was unladylike. On the chorus girl who was brought in her double body , an outraged Colbert told the director, “Get her out of here, I’ll do it, that’s not my leg!” [18] Through the filming, Capra claimed, Colbert “had many little tantrums, motivated by her antipathy toward me”, however, “she was wonderful in the part.” [18]


After filming was completed, Colbert complained to her friend, “I just finished the worst picture in the world.” [18] [19] Columbia appeared to have low expectations for the film and did not mount much of an advertising campaign to promote it. [20] Initial reviews, however, are positive. Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times called “a good piece of fiction, which, with all its feverish stunts, is blessed with bright dialogue and a good quota of relatively restrained scenes.” He also described Colbert’s performance as “engaging and lively” and Gable as “excellent”. [21] VarietyReported that it was “without a very strong plot”, but “causes to come through in a big way, due to the acting, dialog, situations and directing.” [22] Daily movie praised it “a lively yarn, fast-moving, plenty humorous, racy enough to be tantalizing, and yet perfectly decorous.” [23] The New York Herald Tribunecalled it “lively and amusing.” [24] John Mosher of The New Yorker , however, is one of the most controversial articles in the world. [25] Which was probably the review Capra had in mind when he recapped in his autobiography that “sophisticated” critics had dismissed the movie. [26]

Despite the positive reviews, the film only did so-so business in its initial run. However, it has become more widely known in the United Kingdom, especially in smaller towns where movies and movies are not surrounded by luxury. [24] It turned out to be a major smash box office, easily Columbia’s biggest hit to date. [27]

In 1935, after her Academy Award nomination, Colbert decided not to expect the presentation, feeling confident that it would not win the award, and instead, planned to take a cross-country railroad trip. Harry Cohn, who was named after the winner, said that he was someone to “drag her off” the train, which had not yet left the station, and took her to the ceremony. Colbert arrived at the Paramount Pictures costume designer, Travis Banton , make for her trip. [28]

Academy Awards

The film won all five of the Academy Awards for which it was nominated at the 7th Academy Awards for 1934:

Award result Winner
Best Picture Won Columbia Pictures ( Frank Capra and Harry Cohn )
Best Director Won Frank Capra
Best Actor Won Clark Gable
Best Actress Won Claudette Colbert
Best Writing, Adaptation Won Robert Riskin

It Happened One Night was the first film to win the “Big Five” Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing). As of 2014, only two more films have made this feat: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 and The Silence of the Lambs in 1991. [29] It Happened One Night was also the last movie to win both lead acting Academy Awards One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975.

On December 15, 1996, Gable’s Oscar was auctioned off to Steven Spielberg for $ 607,500; Spielberg promptly donated the statuette to the Motion Picture Academy. [30] On June 9 of the following year, Colbert’s Oscar was offered for auction by Christie’s , but no bids were made for it.


The film is recognized by the American Film Institute in these lists:

  • 1998: AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies – # 35 [31]
  • 2000: AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Laughs – # 8 [32]
  • 2002: AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Passions – # 38 [33]
  • 2005: AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes :
    • Ellie Andrews: “Well, I proved to be a little better than the thumb.” – Nominated [34]
  • 2007: AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – # 46 [35]
  • 2008: AFI’s 10 Top 10 :
    • # 3 Romantic Comedy Movie [36]

Radio adaptation

It Happened One Night was adapted to a radio play on March 20, 1939 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater , with Colbert and Gable reprising their roles. The film was also adapted for radio play for the January 28, 1940 broadcast of The Campbell Playhouse .


In 2013 digital restoration of the film was done by Sony Colorworks, a new master film was made from the original negative and scanned at 4K. The digital pictures were digitally restored by Prasad Corporation to remove dirt, tears, scratches and other artifacts, thus returning the film to its original look. [37]

In popular culture

It Happened One Night made an immediate impact on the public. In one scene, Gable undresses for bed, taking off his shirt to reveal that he is bare-chested. An urban legend claims that, as a result, sales of men’s undershirtsdeclined noticeably. [38] The movie also prominently features a Greyhound bus in the story, spurring interest in nationwide travel. [39]

The unpublished memoirs of Friz Freleng animator mention that this was one of his favorite films. It Happened One Night : has a FEW interesting parallels with the cartoon character Bugs Bunny , Who made His first appearance six years later, and Freleng Who Helped Develop. In the film, a minor character, Oscar Shapely, continues to call the Gable character “Doc”, an imaginary character named “Bugs Dooley” is mentioned once in order to frighten Shapely, and there is also a scene in which Gable eats carrots while talking his mouth full, as Bugs does. [40]

Joseph Stalin was a fan of the film, [41] was Adolf Hitler . [42]

Parodies of the movie abound. The 1937 Laurel and Hardy comedy West Way Out parodied the famous hitchhiking scene, with Stan Laurel managing to stop a coaching coach using the same technique. [43] Mel Brooks ‘ film Spaceballs (1987) parodies the wedding scene. Prince Valium, Princess Vespa ( Daphne Zuniga ) is told by her father, King Roland, that Lone Starr forsook the reward for the princess’ s return and only to be reimbursed for the cost of the trip. [44]

The film has also inspired a number of remakes , including the musicals Eve Knew Her Apples (1945) starring Ann Miller and You Can not Run Away from It (1956) starring June Allyson and Jack Lemmon , which was directed and produced by Dick Powell . [45] The Sure Thing (1985), starring John Cusack , has some similarities.

Recent movies have also been used from the point of view of Happened One Night . In Bandits , (2001), Joe Blake ( Bruce Willis ) erecting a blanket partition between motel room beds of respect for Kate Wheeler ‘s ( Cate Blanchett ‘ s) privacy. He remarks that he saw them do the same thing in an old movie. [46] In Sex and the City 2 , Carrie and Mr. Big watch the movie (specifically the hitchhiking scene) in a hotel; Later in the movie Carrie uses the idea which she got from the movie to get a taxi in the Middle East. Also in year Earlier episode of Sex and the City, Samantha mimics Claudette Colbert [47] The wedding scene at the end of the Heartbreaker is a resumption of the wedding scene in It Happened One Night . [48]

Beginning in January 2014, the comic 9 Chickweed Lane tied a story arc to It Happened One Night When one of the characters, Lt. William O’Malley is Injured During World War II and Believes himself to be Peter Warne. As he sneaks through German-occupied France, several points run parallel to that of It Happened One Night and he believes in his Ellen Andrews. [49]

Foreign film adaptations

It Happened One Night has been adapted into numerous Indian films . These include three Hindi adaptations: Chori Chori (1956), Nau Do Gyarah (1957) and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991), a Tamil adaptation Chandhrodhayam(1966), and one Kannada adaptation Hudugaata (2007). [50]

See also

  • List of Academy Award records
  • List of Big Five Winners and Nominees



  1. Jump up^ “‘It Happened One Night’ (A).” British Board of Film Classification , March 13, 1934; retrieved November 18, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Rudy Behlmer,Behind the Scenes, Samuel French, 1990 p 37
  3. Jump up^ “Box Office Information for ‘It Happened One Night’.” The Numbers; retrieved April 12, 2012.
  4. Jump up^ Brown 1995, p. 118.
  5. Jump up^ “National Film Registry.” ArchivedMarch 28, 2013, at theWayback Machine. Library of Congress . Retrieved: October 28, 2011.
  6. Jump up^ “Restoring the Frank Capra Classic, It Happened One Night.” Retrieved: April 16, 2014.
  7. Jump up^ “Full Colorworks Brilliant 4K Restoration of Frank Capra Classic ‘It Happened One Night’.” Shoot , November 18, 2013. Retrieved: April 16, 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Kotsabilas-Davis and Loy 1987, p. 94. Note: Loy described the first script as “one of the worst [that] she had ever read.”
  9. Jump up^ Wiley and Bona 1987, p. 54.
  10. Jump up^ Weems, Erik. It Happened One Night – Frank Capra . ArchivedApril 17, 2007, at theWayback Machine., April 2013. Retrieved: April 1, 2015.
  11. Jump up^ Chandler 2006, p. 102.
  12. Jump up^ McBride 1992, p. 303.
  13. Jump up^ “Loretta Young 1999.” Retrieved: November 14, 2007.
  14. Jump up^ Karney 1995, p. 252.
  15. Jump up^ “All about Oscar.” Retrieved: April 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Jump up to:b Harris 2002, pp. 112-114.
  17. Jump up^ Capra 1971, p. 164.
  18. ^ Jump up to:c Pace, Eric. “Claudette Colbert, unflappable heroine of screwball comedy, is dead at 92.” The New York Times , July 31, 1996, p. D21.
  19. Jump up^ “Review: ‘It Happened One Night’.”, April 2005. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  20. Jump up^ Tueth, p. 20.
  21. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (February 23, 1934). “Movie Review – It Happened One Night” . The New York Times . Retrieved June 22, 2015 .
  22. Jump up^ “It Happened One Night”. Variety . New York. February 27, 1934. p. 17.
  23. Jump up^ “It Happened One Night”. Daily movie . New York. February 23, 1934. p. 6.
  24. ^ Jump up to:b Mizejewski, p. 11.
  25. Jump up^ Mosher, John C. (March 3, 1934). ” The New Yorker “. New York . p. 67.
  26. Jump up^ Mizejewski, p. 12.
  27. Jump up^ McBride 1992, pp. 308-309.
  28. Jump up^ Sharon Fink. “Oscars: The Evolution of Fashion.” St. Petersburg Times, February 24, 2007.
  29. Jump up^ “Awards.” ArchivedJanuary 11, 2012, at theWayback Machine. Retrieved: September 4, 2009.
  30. Jump up^ McKittrick, Rosemary. “Gable’s Gold: Cashes in Hollywood Idol Auction.” ArchivedMarch 3, 2016, at theWayback Machine. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  31. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies” (PDF) . American Film Institute . Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  32. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Laughs” (PDF) . American Film Institute . Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  33. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Passions” (PDF) . American Film Institute . Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  34. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes Nominees” (PDF) . Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  35. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)” (PDF) . American Film Institute . Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  36. Jump up^ “AFI’s 10 Top 10: Top 10 Romantic Comedy” . American Film Institute . Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  37. Jump up^ Altman, Randi. “Capra’s classic ‘It Happened One Night’ restored in 4K.”, November 2013. REtrieved: April 1, 2015.
  38. Jump up^ “The shirt off his back.”, May 10, 2014. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
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  41. Jump up^ “Why Stalin loved Tarzan and wanted John Wayne shot.” The Daily Telegraph, April 6, 2004. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  42. Jump up^ Shirer 1985, p. 588.
  43. Jump up^ “Way Out West (1937).” Filmsite Review. Retrieved: October 14, 2011.
  44. Jump up^ Crick 2009, p. 158.
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  46. Jump up^ Granger, Susan. “Bandits.” All Reviews, 2001. Retrieved: October 14, 2011.
  47. Jump up^
  48. Jump up^ “Heartbreaker (2010) (original title: The Arnacoeur )”. IMDb. Retrieved: April 18, 2012.
  49. Jump up^ McEldowney, Brooke. “9 Chickweed Lane.” Retrieved: April 29, 2014.
  50. Jump up^ Guy, Randor (September 11, 2014). “It happened to be a hit!” . The Hindu . Retrieved November 10, 2016 .

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