The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, January 25 (7:30 p.m.)
It Happened One Night (Columbia, 1934)
In this screwball comedy from director Frank Capra, spoiled socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) eloped without her family’s approval and consequently finds herself stuck with out-of-work journalist Peter Warne (Clark Gable) on her journey back to her new husband. Based on a short story called “Night Bus” by Samuel Hopkins Adams, “It Happened One Night” faced a difficult start, with actor after actor rejecting the lead roles. Eventually Claudette Colbert took on the role of Ellie and Clark Gable was loaned from MGM to play Peter. Although now considered a classic, “It Happened One Night” opened to only so-so reviews and business. Despite the initial reaction, the film performed well in smaller towns and built up word of mouth until it became a smash hit, ending up winning every Oscar for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Writing (Adaptation), marking the first time in history that one film swept the top five Oscar categories. “It Happened One Night” was also Columbia Pictures’ first Best Picture Academy Award win. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1993. Two short subjects from 1934 will be shown before the feature: the Andy Clyde comedy “In the Doghouse” and a “Screen Snapshots.”
Friday, January 26 (7:30 p.m.)
Submarine (Columbia, 1928)
Jack Dorgan (Jack Holt) and Bob Mason (Ralph Graves) are Navy buddies who have a falling out when Bob falls for Jack’s wife, Bessie (Dorothy Revier). While on maneuvers, Bob’s submarine collides with a destroyer and sinks to the ocean floor, entombing the crew alive. Top diver Jack wavers when summoned to rescue his rival. Frank Capra, who was known for small comedies at this time, was asked to take over direction of this first “A” picture production for Columbia Pictures when studio head Harry Cohn was unhappy with the dailies shot by Irvin Willat. The result was so successful both critically and financially that Capra, Holt and Graves re-teamed for two more action pictures, “Flight” and “Dirigible.” The 1921 Hallroom Boys comedy short “Their Dizzy Finish” will be shown before the feature. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment.
Saturday, January 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Columbia, 1939)
This engaging slice of Americana by director Frank Capra stars Jimmy Stewart as Jefferson Smith, a greenhorn junior senator disheartened by the corruption he finds in Washington. Bolstered by support from his (at first) cynical assistant Jean Arthur and reporter Thomas Mitchell, Stewart’s Mr. Smith fights back on behalf of his home state constituents. The stellar supporting cast includes Edward Arnold as a corrupt political boss; Beulah Bondi as Jefferson Smith’s mother, and Claude Rains as his state’s beloved senior Senator, Joseph Paine. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” was nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Stewart and Best Supporting Actor for Rains. The film was added to the National Film Registry in its inaugural year of 1989. Also on the program, the Charley Chase comedy “Rattling Romeo.”
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.