OK, so three random factoids about this 76 (!) year old movie (besides the fact that it was the first film to win the Big 5 of the Academy Awards):
1) In 1934, the 7th Academy Awards were held at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (now the Millennium Biltmore). The Biltmore was constructed in 1923, and at the time, was the largest hotel west of the Mississippi. Besides hosting the Oscars 8 times in the 1930’s and 40’s, the Biltmore also hosted me and my friend Alyssa overnight in January! What a storied place =)
2) I just saw Sex and the City 2 this past weekend, and It Happened One Night is the black and white movie that Big and Carrie watch after Anthony and Stanford’s wedding! What are the chances of that?!?
3) In spite of the title, the movie takes place over several nights, which I thought odd.
So, I succeeded in finding a non-depressing winner, horray! Though I had my reservations about watching this, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It didn’t hurt that an actor I was familiar with (Clark Gable, from Gone with the Wind), but I really enjoyed It Happened One Night. An early precursor to today’s romanic comedies, It Happened One Night follows a spoiled rich girl Ellie Andrews, played by Claudette Colbert, who runs away from her rich father to meet up with her new husband, who her dad hates. As she’s on the run, she comes across a recently fired journalist (Gable, as Peter Wayne) who recognizes her from the papers (as she’s been all over them since her father lost here) and offers to help her in exchange for her story.
Of course, funniness ensues, and like every romcom we’re used to seeing in 2010, the two leads fall in love after some serious chance happenings threaten to keep them apart. I’ll let you see the details for yourself, but I definitely thought this was cute and funny. My favorite part about watching it was definitely seeing the differences between movies then and now. For example, the only kiss in the movie is between Ellie and her at-the-time husband, and it’s very brief. The difference between the strict moral and social conduct back in the 30’s is so different from movies now! Seeing the conduct and dress was also a trip; men in suits and hats and women in buttoned up dresses. The scene from this movie that’s mimicked in Sex and the City occurs when Ellie is trying to flag down a car for a ride, and in doing so, hikes her dress and shows a little leg (which is how Carrie flags down a cab for the girls in Abu Dhabi!)
I thought this was a fun watch, light and fluffy fair from 1934. I was able to stream this one from Netflix, which was super convenient. It’s also out on DVD.
And as for Sex and the City 2 (which I saw with my friends Elisa and Ashley), I thought it was much better than all the reviews said! It was a little long in places, but it was a nice escape to a life most of us won’t ever have. Of course, the designer clothes and wonderful shoes might make me a little biased, but I still miss the show and will probably continue to turn out to see Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte as long as they keep making the movies. SatC2 also marked my first experience at Chunky’s Cinema Pub in the lovely city of Nashua NH, which was a lot of fun, as I’m sure you can tell!
Elisa and I enjoying Chunky's!
Up next—I’m on a mission to find the Hurt Locker at Redbox and see what took down Avatar! Check back soon =)
Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)
- 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.”
- On December 15, 1996, Clark Gable’s Oscar was auctioned off to Steven Spielberg for $607,500
- Neither star of the film was the first choice for their roles, and both were said to have thought the movie was a stinked during filming
- Estimated budget: $325,000 (roughly the equivalent of $5,316,926.14 in 2010!)