It Happened One Night (U)

Comedy Couples

It Happened One Night

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable star in one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic comedies: an early prototype for the romantic comedy.

So many of the familiar tropes of the romantic comedy genre can be traced back to Frank Capra’s screwball classic about the relationship between a runaway heiress and a cynical journalist.

A man (Clark Cable) and a woman (Claudette Colbert) who start the film hating each other before gradually falling in love. Opposites inevitably attract, as the class divide crumbles. One of the lovers being engaged to another, leading to a possible jilting at the altar.

Yet it’s the chemistry between our comedy couple that truly lifts this film into classic status. Famously, neither star wanted to appear in the film, yet their charisma and comic timing make this one of Capra’s very best films, and it became one of only three movies to win the top five Oscars: best picture, best director, best actress, best actor and best screenplay.

USA 1934 Dir Frank Capra 105 min

Curated by the Barbican as part of Comedy Genius, a nationwide celebration of comedy on screen, led by BFI, the Independent Cinema Office and BFI Film Audience network, supported by funds from the National Lottery. For more screenings go to bficomedy.co.uk #bficomedy

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