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Daniel Hall
Daniel Hall

It Happened One Night

The last scene has Peter's battered Model T parked in a motor court in Glen Falls, Michigan. The mom-and-pop owners talk and wonder why, on such a warm night, the newlyweds (he had seen the marriage license) wanted a clothesline, an extra blanket, and the little tin trumpet that he had gotten for them. As they look at the cabin, the toy trumpet sounds a fanfare, the blanket falls to the floor, and the lights in the cabin go out.

it happened one night

The film, composed mostly of a road trip (by bus, car, foot, and by thumb in locales such as bus depots or interiors of buses, and the open road) by the social-class-unmatched couple, contains some of the most classic scenes ever made: the "Walls of Jericho" scene in an auto-camp bungalow so that they can sleep in the same room out of wedlock, the doughnuts-dunking lesson, the hitchhiking scene, the night-time scene on a haystack in a deserted barn, and the dramatic wedding scene. With his good-natured, street-smart, and breezy performance, Gable influenced the un-sale of undershirts by taking off his shirt and exposing his bare chest, and bus travel by women substantially increased as a result of the film.

The next scene is introduced by a sign reading: Night Bus to New York. In the Miami bus station, detectives can't believe she would take a lower-class night bus. "We're wasting our time. Can you imagine Ellie Andrews riding on a bus?" To evade her father's search by traveling incognito, she has another elderly lady buy a ticket for her on a Greyhound bus - a rickety, proletarian means of transportation which would be unlikely for a rich heiress. She is determined to escape detection and join her husband (to spite her father) after a night bus ride from Miami, Florida to New York.

Peter, like another 'father-less' passenger, has also purchased a ticket for the crowded night bus ride to New York, traveling on the bus because he is down-and-out and broke, and that is the only fare he can afford. These circumstances will soon bring the two main characters together and contrast their status in the social hierarchy. The only bus seat left is in the back of the bus, and it is covered with a bundle of newspapers - Warne hurls through the window to the platform. After the bus driver (Ward Bond) objects to his brash action, he replies:

I never did like the idea of sitting on newspaper. I did it once, and all the headlines came off on my white pants. On the level! It actually happened. Nobody bought a paper that day. They just followed me around over town and read the news on the seat of my pants.

At a night-time rest stop, where 5 cent cones and hot dogs and hamburgers for 10 cents are advertised, Ellie listlessly leans up against the side of the bus, smoking a cigarette. Her small briefcase is stolen with all her money in it (except four dollars). Peter acts gentlemanly, but is unable to catch and apprehend the thief for her. To his surprise, she refuses to have it reported, so that she won't be found out: "I don't want it reported!...Can you understand English? Would you please keep out of my affairs. I want to be left alone." He recognizes that she is a spoiled brat: "Why, you ungrateful brat!"

When Peter and Ellie have to spend the night together for the first time, Peter drapes a blanket over a clothesline in the middle of the room and declares them the Walls of Jericho so that Ellie can have some privacy. By the end of the movie, much ado is made about the Walls of Jericho falling after they have fallen in love and are, for whatever reason, traveling together again. Not an inch of skin is shown, nor lips pressed together, but that blanket falling to the ground communicates all the sex that is needed.

Bloody Saturday in the Soviet Union: Novocherkassk, 1962 by Samuel Baron (2001) tells the story of the massacre of strikers at Novocherkassk on June 1, 1962, and also of the attempts to stifle or exploit it, from the initial cover-up by the Communist authorities to cold war broadcasts from the West and the samizdat narratives that surfaced during glasnost. An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866 by James Hollandsworth (2001) pursues the theme of massacre into American history. Hollandsworth showed how a struggle to dominate municipal elections in New Orleans erupted in an orgy of violence, which left at least thirty-four dead and a hundred wounded, exposing racism as the most important ingredient in the politics of Reconstruction. An Ordinary Atrocity: Sharpeville and Its Massacre by Philip Frankel (2001) treats an equally deadly incident, the slaughter of defenseless Africans in the township of Sharpeville, South Africa, on March 21, 1960, which became the defining event in the history of apartheid. Frankel sifted through complex and contradictory testimony in order to explain how the massacre happened and how competing versions of it became entangled in the subsequent politics of South Africa.

Because so many of the readers were writers and because the news gathering took place without the intervention of professionals, newspapers grew directly out of the coffeehouse culture where they were produced and consumed. Far from providing a clear window into what had actually happened, they distorted everything that passed through them. As Brewer remarks, they were

Inciting Event: Down-on-his-luck newspaperman Peter Warne figures out that his bus-riding partner is the runaway heiress Ellie Andrews. Quite a bit has happened up to this point: Ellie has run away from her father, Ellie and Peter have met, and Ellie has had her suitcase stolen and has missed the bus. But this is the Inciting Event, because this is what gives Peter the goal of writing a story about Ellie.

"It Happened One Night" also happened to be the favorite film of animator Friz Freleng, and was widely seen by other residents of Warner Bros. famous Termite Terrace, where some of the best short films of all time were produced and some of popular culture's most enduring characters were created. This was where Bugs Bunny was born, and his most famous traits come straight from "It Happened One Night."

In "It Happened One Night," Gable plays a character named Peter Warne, a man with has sparkle than a Stephenie Meyer vampire. He's tall, a bit rough-hewn, and unbearably handsome. He has a sloppy, roguish quality that appeals to just about everyone. It didn't hurt that Gable was aggressively sexy; there is a notorious scene in "It Happened One Night" wherein Peter and Ellie (the Claudette Colbert character) have to share a room for the night. When Ellie won't give Peter privacy to undress, he explains his undressing process to her ... as he undresses. Gable removed his shirt and was wearing no undershirt. That's a bare chest in 1934. It was more than most of us could take. This hasn't been substantiated, but a popular rumor about "It Happened One Night" was that sales of men's undershirts plummeted after Gable undressed for millions of people.

Peter Warne (Clark Gable) is a hard-bitten reporter. He loses his job, but finds a ticket back in when he stumbles onto a runaway heiress, Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert), who is determined to marry an airplane pilot named King Westley against her father's wishes. Peter meets Ellie on a cross-country night bus, and threatens to blow her cover unless she gives him the exclusive story about her escape. They hate each other at first; when they realize that they'll have to share a room, they invent the "Wall of Jericho," a blanket between their two beds to keep them apart. But they eventually fall in love...

Tuesday February 14, 2023Movie starts at 7:00pmDoors open 1 hour prior to movie timeTickets:Option 1: $5 plus fees and tax onlineOption 2: Romance Package $15 plus tax and fees (only available thru 5pm, February 13th)$5 plus tax at the door the night of the show

B.J. was apparently either on duty or keeping a watchful eye on Edwards while Hawkeye was sleeping. Both are up from midnight to dawn. When exactly does B.J. get some sleep? A better question is when does Radar get to sleep? Colonel Potter is asleep in his tent but Radar is scouring the camp at midnight waking people up.


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