Say, where’d you learn to dunk? In finishing school?

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable

It Happened One Night (1934)

AFI 100 Years… 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Ranking: #46

This is a pleasant romantic comedy without all the annoying formulaic bits, like people pretending to be something they’re not, or chasing the uber hot guy/girl until finally realizing you were in love with your best friend the whole time. Yes, there is a road trip involved, and the main characters do start off by bickering, but all it happens in a very natural, meet-cute way that doesn’t feel strained at all. Colbert’s character is a spoiled, impulsive heiress who runs away from home after a dispute with her father. Gable’s character is a recently fired reporter who is initially amused by Ellie’s naiveté, and then later intrigued by her as a meal ticket.

Throughout their travels, they hone their improvisational skills, piggy-back, hitchhike, and eventually fall in love. Her attraction to him was pretty easy to figure out, she falls in love easily (probably only married King for fun anyway), they’re on a wild, fun adventure (from her point of view), and he treats her unlike anyone else in her life, which is probably a refreshing change of pace.

Overall, an enjoyable melange of winsome elements that work together quite well, despite everyone’s initial reluctance to work on the project. Somebody must have done something right, because it won all five major Academy Awards! There’s a fantastic review of the film on Pre-Code.com, and I don’t have much to add beyond that. Check it out for a more in-depth analysis. Let’s get our drink on!

Cocktail #1: Brown Derby

This drink is reportedly named after the popular Hollywood diner often frequented by celebrities such as Clark Gable himself. From Speakeasy Cocktails.

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup (combine two parts honey to one part hot water, stir to dissolve, cool, and refrigerate until needed)

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.

Cocktail #2: The Claudette

Found on The World According to Jessica Claire, this is a bright, refreshing cocktail that’s as sweet and alluring as the actress herself.

  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 & 1/2 oz citron vodka
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • 1 oz soda water
  • garnish: mint leaf

Muddle mint and vodka in an empty cocktail shaker. Add lemon and Chambord and shake with ice. Strain into martini glass, top with soda water, and add garnish.

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable

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