Tuesday, March 15, 2011


One of the most priceless moments of cinema when Claudette Colbert hikes up her skirt to show up Clark Gable in 1934's It Happened One Night.  Directed by Frank Capra at the top of his craft (apologies to It's a Wonderful Life devotees, but this is his prime work); a sublime and absolutely wondrous screwball comedy-- it even ignited the censors and women (and I'm sure a few men) with the sight of Gable sans undershirt.  To say they don't make 'em like this anymore is both a sad reminder that true cinematic romance and whimsy has dissipated, and that the societal mores are too wise to pure screwball.  Watching this beaut now might seem dated, but remember, this one invented more than a few of the rules, and the chemistry between it's ace leads is legacy in itself.

For trivia sake, this film has a few grand legacies-- it's the first film in Oscar history to win picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay (the only others to accomplish this rare feat were One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Silence of the Lambs), it was also the first film to win both the Oscar and the top prize at the National Board of Review.  Of course, statues mean nothing; Colbert hiking up her skirt for a ride stays forever-- it's at turns sexy and goofy-- one the of the best moments of American cinema ever.

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