It Happened One Night (1934)

Film Review


Release Date: 22 February, 1934

Studio: Columbia

Director: Frank Capra

Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

Special Notes: TCM Classic Film Festival, 2013

This film was shown in the Lovers on the Run category at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival, featuring film scholar Cari Beauchamp.


An heiress (Colbert) flees from her over-protective father, who is attempting to prevent her from formalizing marriage to a man he considers a gold-digger. She meets a reporter (Gable) who has just been fired by his paper. He makes a deal to take her to her new husband in return for the story. In the course of their journey, they fall in love. A misunderstanding separates them temporarily, but finally love triumphs.


Film scholar Cari Beauchamp noted that several actresses turned down the heiress role, including Constance Bennett, Miriam Hopkins, Myrna Loy, Margaret Sullivan, and Loretta Young. Claudette Colbert agreed to do the film if she was paid enough money; her salary was $50,000. Clark Gable, on the other hand, only received $8,000. Louis B. Mayer, head of production at MGM, determined to show producer Irving Thalberg that he was in charge, loaned Gable to Columbia. Both Colbert and Gable won great acclaim (and Academy Awards) for this film. Walter Connelly, an important character actor at Columbia Pictures, has the lynchpin role as Colbert's father who counsels his daughter against the gold-digging aviator and instead promotes the non-grasping Gable. Harry Cohn, the head of production at Columbia Pictures, gave Frank Capra and Robert Riskin, the writer, total control. The picture was nominated for five Academy Awards, best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, best writing (adaptation) and won them all. This triumph elevated Columbia Pictures into the status of a major studio.