14 January 2014

Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night": The Hitchhiking Sequence

{Reposted from 2009}
From Frank Capra's 1934 ground-breaking It Happened One Night -- the first film ever to sweep the major Oscar categories -- here's the film's most famous sequence: "Hitchhiking".

Claudette Colbert plays a runaway heiress and Clark Gable is the worldly reporter who can both help her escape her controlling father and also "get the story" that will bolster his career. ("Runaway heiress" was a common theme in films of the 30s and 40s. This film came out to low initial expectations, but, as word mouth got around, the film found it's audience and remains popular to this day.)

Two things to keep in mind regarding this sequence: first, the theme: "The limb is mightier than the thumb"; second, watch the film editing carefully as Colbert gets a car to stop from them. It's a perfect demonstration of the power of editing, showing Capra's genius emerging.

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