Friday, August 27, 2010

Favorite Films: It Happened One Night

It's amazing to see a splendid comedy from 1934. We watch the way that morals have changed in our country... what they've grown from and to. And you realize that this is one of those films that was forced to reflect on sexual innuendo without being allowed to say the words or show these two sleeping in the same bed. Essentially, this film had to find a way around the lie that our government decided it was necessary to implement (Hays Code). Yet somehow, Capra and his team make it work. At no point does this film seem to hold back... or rather, at no point does the film seem like it is being bound down. It says everything it means to say, and quite charmingly so.
It would be poor of me not to report to you on the thing that truly sells the movie however. I am an actor and a writer, but when I look to praise one individual for making the film work I usually will side with the writers. A good script can make a bad actor look good. But it does work both ways. And this movie is about the cast. I'm not saying that Robert Riskin wasn't a phenomenal writer... in fact he has written several of my all time favorite films (which I intend to report on in the near future). But the chemistry between Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert is just perfect, riské and wonderful. And when the "Walls of Jericho" finally fall...
(an epic statement for its time)
we feel we have in fact earned it.

The List So Far:
1927 - Metropolis - Fritz Lang
1928 - Steamboat Willie - Ub Iwerks
1931 - M - Fritz Lang
1932 - Tarzan, The Ape Man - W. S. Van Dyke
1933 - King Kong - Merian C. Cooper +
1934 - It Happened One Night - Frank Capra

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