It Happened One Night

June 17, 2010
By TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
177 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be great is to be misunderstood" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I may be so bold, It Happened One Night may be the greatest romantic-comedy ever made. It's flawless in every way - characterization, cinematography, pacing, etc. Frank Capra is often listed as a great director, and this film serves as a perfect example of why that is. Capra doesn't play any semantics or games with this film. It's as simple as it looks - a "boy meets girl" story. Nothing's added for over-the-top melodrama or suspense. Instead, the film simply focuses on the friendship, and soon-to-be relationship, of these two very charming individuals.

In the film, we're first introduced to Ellie Andrews. A rich socialite, Ellie has plans to elope with her boyfriend, Westley, despite her father's stern disapproval. On a late-night bus to New York, Ellie meets fellow passenger Peter Warne, an out-of-work journalist with a wry sense of humor. Before long, Peter recognizes Ellie and gives her a choice: if she will give him exclusive rights to her runaway story, he will help her reunite with Westley, otherwise he will tell her father where she is and collect on the reward. Unsurprisingly, Ellie agrees and the two set off for New York. A mad string of adventures, however, slowly leads to the realization that they're madly - if reluctantly - in love with each other.

Peter Warne and Ellie Andrews have to be one of the cutest and most charming couples in cinema history. Just listening to the conversations between these two people is enjoyable, as their dialogue and realism make them feel so human. It's as if you could jump into their conversations yourself, and that kind of a relationship with a character is absolutely priceless. It's because of these great and memorable characters that I fell in love with It Happened One Night. Charming, funny, and lovable to the end.

The cinematography is, surprisingly, incredible. Most films from the 1930's have a certain glossed look that makes it easy to differentiate between older and more recent films. However, the cinematography in this film is stunning because of how modern it looks. It literally looks as if the film could've been shot anytime within the past year. It's *that*good. The camerawork's fluid and precise, and this only makes the film feel even younger than it already appears to be.

Also, as the film was made before the Hays Code was enforced, It Happened One Night was able to get away with things that would be considered unheard of in future '30's films. For example, there's actually a bit of sexual tension between Peter and Ellie multiple times through the film, though not in an exploitative or cringe-worthy way. In fact, the scenes are executed in a modest sort of way, making them just as charming as they are mildly sexy.

As far as pacing goes, the film's perfect in this regard. Nothing ever feels drawn out or bloated, and it's easy to get lost in this film because of how engrossing the characters of Peter and Ellie are. There may be a few slower moments in this film, but definitely not any dull ones.

It Happened One Night is simply a perfect film. With great characters, a dry sense of humor, and a captivating narrative, this film is easy to fall in love with over and over again.

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