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"It happened one night." (actress Claudette Colbert reminisces on film with Clark Gable) 

Author: Cohen, Meg

Source: Harper's Bazaar, 01-01-1994, pp 127(1).

Claudette Colbert reminisces about the film that defined romantic comedy.

The plot was quite simple: A spoiled young heiress runs away from her father, teams up with a down-and-out newspaper man, and falls desperately in love. But the result was simply sensational: Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934) won five Oscars--including Best Actress for Claudette Colbert--and established itself as the first serious American comedy. On the film's 60th anniversary, we asked Colbert, now 90, to share some of her recollections from that night.

What was it like working with Clark Gable?

It was really quite wonderful. We had never had the chance to work together because he was MGM and I was Paramount, and in those days that was like North Korea and South Korea. All of a sudden this opportunity came up, and I was thrilled. We had the same kind of sense of humor, and as we knew a lot of the same people, |we had^ a lot of fun between takes. I don't think anyone will ever replace Clark.

The hitchhiking scene is one of the highlights of the film. Is it also one of your favorites?

Yes, because it was so simple. I was lying on top of the fence and |Clark^ was doing everything, and finally I got up and said, "Well, I'm going to do it now." He asked, "What are you going to do?" and I said, "I'll stop a car, and I won't use my thumb." It was a funny scene, very charming.

Sixty years later, do you still feel it's an important film?

Yes. It was the first of its kind. You see, comedy in those days was mostly clowns. Otherwise, everything was glamour--glamour to the point of not being real. But after the success of It Happened One Night, all the studios decided that they would make their stars play comedy. It was the first really honest comedy that was done at the time. And we |played^ it as comedy should be played: very seriously.

If "It Happened One Night" was being remade today, who do you think would play your role?

Julia Roberts.

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