It Happened One Night (1934)

clark gable happened one nightThe first film in history to win every major Academy Award.


In honor of the Oscars tonight, I thought I’d feature one of only three films in cinematic history to win what some call the “Oscar Grand Slam” or “Big Five” or “The Only Oscar Categories Most Of Us Actually Care About…And Best Screenplay Is Still Questionable.”

In other words, It Happened One Night is a big deal because it was the first to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay.

Having said that, awards aren’t everything. I can say this because I have a shelf full of “participant” trophies from my recreational youth basketball league and I feel the same sense of empty fulfillment when I pull them out each night to silently caress them in reminiscent melancholy.

It Happened One Night was released exactly 81 years ago today (which comes to February 22, 1934 for those of you who don’t feel like pretending you can easily do that math).

It’s a classic “screwball comedy” directed by the one and only Frank Capra, and it stars Clark Gable (Gone With the Wind) and Claudette Colbert ([other stuff I’ll probably never watch]).

clark gable oscarIt has been said that Clark Gable’s fast-talking, carrot-chomping character in this film heavily influenced the personality of a cartoon character you might have heard of named Bugs Bunny, who made his animated debut six years later. (Again, that’s 1940 for those of you who did NOT set the fastest record in Mrs. Carrier’s 100-problem mathematical challenge in the 4th grade.)

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Apparently this movie was one of Adolf Hitler’s and Joseph Stalin’s favorite films…which, by extrapolation, means the rest of us who enjoy it are destined for maniacal tyranny.

One of the great running jokes in this movie revolves around what Clark Gable refers to as “the walls of Jericho,” which is a blanket draped over a rope in the middle of the bedroom. The unmarried couple used this divider for privacy and to guard against any hanky-panky that might ensue.

Some see such practices as an outdated limitation to individual freedom, but as many single parents and STD patients can attest, the consequences of sexual promiscuity produce anything but lifetime liberty.

Don’t be afraid to set sexual boundaries outside of marriage. Commandments from God are omnisciently designed for our happiness.

“Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.” — Joshua 6:1

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2 Responses to It Happened One Night (1934)

  1. John Rainier says:

    I love this movie and have seen it many times. As a former hitchhiker in my younger days, I love the scene where Gable tries to instruct Colbert in the art of hitchhiking, and she shows him “the limb is mightier than the thumb.”

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