Today’s movie of the day is “It Happened One Night (1934).” It is one of the finest romantic comedies of all time and has maintained a great sense of popularity. It is regarded as one of the earliest “screwball” romantic comedies of its era, establishing the precedent for many years to come.
Ellie Andrews, a spoiled heiress, rashly marries the deceitful King Westley in Frank Capra’s classic romantic comedy, prompting her millionaire father to whisk her away on his boat. Ellie meets cynical newspaper writer Peter Warne after jumping ship, who promises to assist her in reuniting with her new husband in exchange for an exclusive article. However, the reporter falls for the fiery young heiress throughout their travels.
- The film was directed and co-produced by Frank Capra, assisted by Harry Cohn.
- The film is categorized as a “pre-Code” production and is one of the final romantic comedies made before the MPPDA began strictly enforcing the 1930 Motion Picture Production Code in July 1934.
- “It Happened One Night” was released just four months before the enforcement of the code.
- Neither Gable nor Colbert was initially considered for the starring parts. Miriam Hopkins declined to play Ellie. Robert Montgomery and Myrna Loy were then approached for the parts, but both declined.
- Loy later stated that the ultimate storyline as filmed bore little relation to the screenplay handed to her and Montgomery. Margaret Sullavan, too, turned down the role.
- It has received extensive critical praise and is largely regarded as one of the finest films of all time.
- The film won all five major Academy Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Only two other films have won awards in each of the five categories: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs.
- Despite the excellent reviews, the film’s original run was only modestly successful.
- After it was shown in secondary theaters, ticket sales soared. It was particularly successful in smaller places where the film’s characters and straightforward romance resonated with audiences who were not surrounded by luxury.
- It was a major box office success, certainly Columbia’s biggest hit until the late 1980s.