Unrated, 1 hr. 45 min. Directed by: Frank Capra. Release Date: Feb 22, 1934. DVD Release Date: Dec 28, 1999.
****REPOSTED FROM THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH NEW EDITS/COMMENTS****
dated but enjoyable romantic comedy set in a mainstream America that
most of us will barely recognize. I was surprised how much I enjoyed
this on the first viewing. Subsequent viewings have only made this
better, but that feeling of watching dated material is always a problem.
I enjoy cinema classics, but It Happened One Night
doesn't seem to have passed the test of time with the same flying
colors as other movies of the same era. Its formula romance and comedic
elements still exist in modern Hollywood: I would actually argue,
given the film's release date that it was the formula KEY for all
romantic comedies to come, and anyone who's a regular viewer of this
genre of film will recognize scene after scene, although generally
they've been modified slightly to fit with the story line of the moment.
One of the hardest things to swallow was the setting
and interplay between the characters, which pretty much left me
scratching my head. The interplay between the lead characters is odd
and filled with threats of physical violence and sarcasm... not exactly
what I call romantic, although most of it was funny once I got past the
idea of a man suggesting a woman needed to be beaten daily whether she'd
earned it or not. You know... "Ellie needs to be beaten often, and by
someone who knows how." Not really, but that's the general idea.
America depicted in the movie was a country that has only vague
elements in common with the country I know and the same is true for the
people... although I'm wondering if Paris Hilton ever saw this movie and
identified a bit too strongly with Ellie Andrews. However, when the
story does mesh with modern American culture, it does so well, and is
both charming and funny. The final scene, once I figured out what was
going on, was so funny I laughed until I spilled a drink on myself. I
understand why this was such a major contender (and winner) at its
year's Oscars, but the dated feel makes me think there are better
choices for those wanting to see a film classic.