Best Picture 1934: It Happened One Night

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It Happened One Night was the winner of Best Picture at the 1934 academy awards. The film swept the Oscars that year. The film was the first romantic comedy to ever win Best Picture, as well. Claudette plays Ellie Andrews, daughter of a wealthy father who disapproves of her elopement with her lover Westley. He imprisons her on a yacht, only to have her jump overboard and swim to freedom.

Ellie makes it to shore and boards a bus to get to Westley as soon as she can. Her seat mate is Peter (Clark Gable), a journalist. When Peter realizes just who Ellie Andrews is, he realizes he has found a story that will make his career. Even though they bicker, Peter offers to pretend to be her husband so she can escape her father. His motive is to get the story of a lifetime, but before long, he begins to fall for Ellie. Of course, they share a hotel room and travel accommodations, and they fall in love. The classic forced proximity romance trope always makes a good story.

It Happened One Night was kind of a surprise commercial hit. There’s wholesome flirting and good dialogue. Right in the middle of the great depression, it must have been a wonderful escape. It was the first picture to win Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

“It Happened One Night” Review: Brownsville Herald, July 1, 1934

Original Trailer

Claudette Colbert “Paper Dolls”

It Happened One Night came out right in the middle of the great depression. This newspaper in Brownsville, Texas, ran a full-page ad on June 9, 1935, that contained paper dolls. It seems like brilliant advertising, as it would be easily justified to buy a newspaper if you could give your kids something to play with. I wonder how many children cut out and played with these dolls? You still can. Print the below picture and your kids can color and play with paper dolls like grandma and grandpa used to.

You can play with these paper dolls! Just right click, select “download.” Open the file in any image software and select “print.” You can select “Fit to Page” or print full size on several pages. Cutout Claudette and her outfits and change her as you see fit! Courtesy Library of Congress

Where to Find “It Happened One Night”

Find for FREE streaming or on DVD in a library near you at

Find at Amazon or Prime Video

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