Saturday, March 23, 2019

Weekend Movie Fun: It Happened One Night (1934) and The Richest Girl in the World (1934) at UCLA

Last night was another wonderful evening in UCLA's Fay Wray + Robert Riskin series!

Last night featured a double bill of two romantic comedies from 1934, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) and THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (1934). Robert Riskin won an Oscar for Best Screenplay for IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, and his future wife Fay Wray costarred in THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT was a digital print, while THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD was a 16mm C&C Television Corporation print.

I last saw IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival, and as I wrote then, I'd seen the film countless times over the years, but seeing the film fresh, for the first time in several years, was a revelation.

I felt the same way seeing the movie again last night after a gap of six years. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are simply wonderful, fully deserving of their Oscars. The movie is beautifully constructed and has marvelous dialogue; my only quibble continues to be that I feel that the ending goes on too long, though the final perfect moments certainly make up for it. There are so many delightful scenes in this film, it's just pure joy, what great movies are all about. I strongly encourage anyone who hasn't seen it to watch it, and I also encourage anyone who hasn't seen it for a few years to watch it again. You'll be glad you did!

While it's not on the same level as IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, I also quite enjoyed seeing THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD again. It has a wonderful cast in Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Reginald Denny, and Henry Stephenson, who's one of my all-time favorite character actors. Although Wray and Denny are the second leads, I think I enjoy them most; the look on Wray's face when she realizes that McCrea spotted Denny entering her bedroom is priceless. (McCrea, you see, doesn't know Wray and Denny are actually married...) Like IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, the wrap-up could be tidier but it's a fun film.

I reviewed the Warner Archive DVD of THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD in 2017 and a TCM showing back in 2009. (Speaking of the Warner Archive, the Archive is celebrating its tenth anniversary this weekend!)

The Wray + Riskin series concludes on March 30th with screenings of THE WEDDING MARCH (1928) and AMERICAN MADNESS (1932).

A postscript for those who are regulars at UCLA: Last month I shared the news that 800 Degrees Pizza on Lindbrook behind the Hammer Museum had closed. A new pizza place was said in news reports to be opening early this year. Imagine my surprise when I drove past the location last night and a large banner announced the "Grand Re-Opening" of 800 Degrees Pizza coming in April! I have no idea what happened there but it is truly good news. It's a great place to eat before a night of movies at the Billy Wilder Theater.


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