As buoyant and elegant as bubbles in a glass of champagne, Frank Capra's sublime 1934 comedy... survives triumphantly because of its wit, charm, romantic idealism and its shrewd sketch of married life.
Gable and Colbert have charm to spare, and even though the tropes are well-worn and have been mishandled poorly by every by-the-book chick flick of the last 15 years, it still isn't enough to keep this from working like gangbusters.
Among the more gratifying phenomena of the current season has been the growing recognition of It Happened One Night, the Frank Capra production of last year, as one of the few potential classics of the recent cinema.
This charming romantic comedy, while grounded in the context of the Depression, offered light fare that's uncharacteristic of Capra. It might have been the first true sleeper since no one involved anticipated such critical and commercial success.
Capra's sense of humour is a little like that of Preston Sturges, though less caustic; and the film shows its stars at their best, Colbert as one of Hollywood's fresher comediennes, Gable as dumb-but-loveable hunk.