Tag Archives: It Happened One Night

Director: Frank Capra

Not only did Capra win three Best Director Oscars, he propelled the careers of Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, and Cary Grant.

Frank Capra saw himself as a member of the “gee whiz” school of filmmaking, and made no apologies for it. Capra’s movies featured what is good in humanity, and have even had a word coined to describe their world view — capraesque. He said, “To some of us, all that meets the eye IS larger than life, including life itself. Who can match the wonder of it?”

Capra got his start in movies as a gag writer for silent film comic Harry Langdon at Mack Sennett’s studio. Langdon promoted Capra to director, but the erratic actor soon fired him. It wasn’t long before the struggling studio Columbia Pictures hired Capra, who, following a series of modestly successful small pictures, hit it big with It Happened One Night. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert sparkled, the movie won five Academy Awards (including Gable’s only Oscar), and Capra’s reputation was sealed.

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Capra was declared the hottest director of the 1930s in a Time Magazine article. In addition to It Happened One Night (Best Picture, Best Director), prior to World War II Capra directed Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Best Director), Lost Horizon, You Can’t Take It With You (Best Picture, Best Director), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Best Picture, Best Director), and Meet John Doe.

Following the war, Capra created what’s considered his masterpiece, though it wasn’t perceived quite so well at the time of its initial release. It’s a Wonderful Life (Great American Things, December 1, 2009) rode the wave of American post-war optimism and is the ultimate “capraesque” film. In addition to Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, Capra was instrumental in the careers of Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Claudette Colbert, Cary Grant, and Jean Arthur. (Capra once called Arthur his favorite actress.)

My favorite Frank Capra quote: “I thought drama was when the actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.”

Actor: Clark Gable

Yep, regardless of all the other movies he made, he'll always be Rhett Butler to us. Uploaded by assets.nydailynews.com.

Admit it. When you hear “Clark Gable,” you think “Rhett Butler.” Gable was an excellent actor who appeared in many movies and won lots of acclaim, but he’ll always be Rhett Butler to us.

Most actors have a career role, but seldom has there been a man so prominent in a movie as successful as Gone With the Wind. Gable had already won the Oscar for Best Actor in It Happened One Night (1934), in which he and Claudette Colbert made a delightful team. And he received another Best Actor nomination for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). So he already was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars when GWTW came along. But as great as those performances were, Clark Gable is Rhett Butler.

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Gable’s career actually began in silent movies and lasted until 1961’s The Misfits, in which he co-starred with Marilyn Monroe in her final film. He worked opposite Joan Crawford eight times, Myrna Loy seven times, and Jean Harlow six times. But it’s that one movie opposite Vivien Leigh that has stayed with us.

He appeared in 81 movies in all, and you really can’t say he had a huge hit after 1939. Maybe he just became a bad judge of scripts. Maybe he just had bad luck. Or maybe it’s that even Hollywood producers always saw him as…you know.

Doris Day summed up Clark Gable this way: “He was as masculine as any man I’ve ever known, and as much a little boy as a grown man could be – it was this combination that had such a devastating effect on women.”