Century 1934: It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night. Frank Capra. 1934.

Uh-up. This one won the Oscars. But how bad can it be? It’s Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, directed by Frank Capra, so it should be, like, good.

But it’s not. It all feels like a creeper rapey thing: Gable pursued Gilbert with a ferocity and inevitability that’s unnerving and offputting. If it had been Cary Grant, it might not have been as creepy, because he’s more charming and gay, but throughout this film we’re basically watching Colbert wondereing whether she’ll get raped or whether he’s a possible new boyfriend.

Or perhaps there’s no difference?

When she wants to go off to eat a hamburger, the psycho boyf says “I’ll break your neck!” Only the knowledge that we’re watching a romantic comedy and not a deranged psychopathic fantasy allows us to smile along with then antics.

It’s creepy as fuck.

On the other hand, perhaps I just don’t like Clark Gable.

This blog post is part of the Century series.

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