Why include this, you ask? Two reasons: Directed by Frank Capra (as were the last two movies on the list) and it shocked the world by winning all five major Oscars: Actor, Actress, Director, Writing, and Picture. That's a feat to be proud of. So, break's the perfect time to ask the question: Why shouldn't I watch a movie over Winter Break?

Plot Summary: This plot wasn't written by a rocket scientist. Ellen Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is introduced on her father's boat fighting with him about how he wants to have her marriage to King Westley, a reasonably famous aviator and not a king, annulled. She decides that she's had enough and escapes. She performs a perfect swan dive off the side of the boat fully clothed and manages to elude the boat. Her next course of action is to head north to New York (she's in Miami) to meet back up with King Westley. Jump to the train station. A very drunk Peter Warren (Clark Gable) and all his buddies decide to call up Warren's editor in New York. The editor fires Warren, who then decides to jump on a bus to New York. There's only one seat left, shared by our drunken hero and our fish-out-of-water heroine.

If this were a very very short film, they would have made it to New York on that bus, but that's not how you become a classic. At the first bus stop, Andrews gets her bag stolen by a local thief, and Warren tries to get it back for her. She doesn't even notice it's missing and is shocked by his behaivior. Then, when they stop for breakfast in Jacksonville, Andrews tells the busdriver that she may be a little bit late and to hold the bus for her. She misses the bus, but fortunately, Mr. Warren waits with her. They run around all over the place registerring as husband and wife, until they hop on another bus to New York, which, during an impromptu sing-along, crashes into a lake. You can imagine the associated hijinks.

Finally, one night, she declares her love for him, he ignores it, she goes to bed. He figures out that he actually loves her, tries to tell her but she's already asleep, goes to New York to sell the story to his editor and get money to run to a Pacific Island with her. She wakes up to the landlord thinking that Warren had run off without paying, she thinks that Warren had deserted her, and calls her father (who has now made up with her fiance). A new wedding is arranged between Andrews and King Westley. Guess how it ends?

Review: This movie, viewing it now, is cliche. Through and through. Which is why I loved it so much. Have you ever seen a cliche where you were sure that it was designed for these two actors and this time? That's what this movie is. The "heiress running away from home" couldn't be played any better than it was here by Colbert. The "courteous yet almost sleazy newspaper reporter" somehow fits Gable to a T. The personalities that he meets on the road are a perfect mix of the 1930's manners and stereotypical characters.

Also, the dialogue is written impeccably. The wit is like something out of a Marx Brothers movie slowed down to a speed where you can understand it. Clark Gable has a number of monologues that aren't particularly memorable, but sure tickle your funny bone seeing them. And, the line of the movie goes to Colbert, who establishes for certain that, when hitchhiking, "[T]he limb is mightier than the thumb".

That all being said, the camera angles are nothing special, the lighting falls to the normal lead-actress-through-cheesecloth and one camera angle per scene, and the plot is, lets face it, ridiculous. Just thought you deserved to know.

See it for:

Rating: Four out of five stars



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Last edited January 10, 2003 14:02 (diff)