Thursday, May 23, 2024

CIFF Presents “It Happened One Night” (1934) for Student Classic Film Series – Apr. 14

The month of April will feature two romantic comedies.

The Coronado Island Film Festival presents It Happened One Night as part of its 2024 Student Classic Film Series, one of two April romantic comedy features, on Sunday, Apr. 14, 2024 in the Winn Room of the Coronado Public Library (640 Orange Ave). The event begins at 1 pm and runs through 3:30 pm.

The screening is free and open to the public; but as part of the Student Classic Film Series, adults over 18 must be accompanied by a young person 18 years old or younger.



As Tennyson reminds, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…” Apropos of this, April is Romantic Comedy Month for the Coronado Island Film Festival’s Student Classic Film Series. As such, on Sunday, April 14, the Student Classic Film Series will screen Frank Capra’s groundbreaking 1934 romantic comedy, It Happened One Night. This legendary RomCom swept the 1935 Oscars, saved a Hollywood studio, and forever chronicled the kinetic romantic energy of its two stars, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

The American Film Institute (AFI) defines Romantic Comedy, “as a genre in which the development of a romance leads to comic situations.” If any film can be called the archetype for the genre, It Happened One Night is that film. It ranks third on AFI’s list of America’s greatest romantic comedies and 46th on AFI’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time. Turner Classic Movies named it one of the 15 most influential films of all time.

While it proved to be one of Frank Capra’s greatest box office hits, no one, including its stars, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, expected much from this genre setting movie. But at the 7th Academy Awards in 1935, this shoestring, low-budget production from Harry Cohn’s “Poverty Row” Studio, Columbia Pictures, shocked Hollywood by becoming the first film in Oscar history to “Clean Sweep” all Big Five Academy Awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay). It was a feat that has since been replicated only three times. It would not happen again for more than forty years.

Yet, surprisingly, It Happened One Night was a movie no studio was excited to make. It was a story in which none of Hollywood’s big stars wanted to be cast. Released at the height of the Great Depression, after its premiere it was not, initially, a box office smash. Only after going into wider release on movie screens in small towns across the nation did the movie-going public make this comedic masterpiece a huge box office sensation. Capra later said of his now enormously profitable and critically admired romantic comedy, “It would have furnished comical proof of two Hollywood adages: The only rule in filmmaking is that there are no rules, and the only prediction is that all predictions are by guess and by God until the film plays in theaters.”

On Sunday, April 14 from 1 to 3:30 p.m., get a hilarious springtime dose of romantic comedy magic from this Capra classic. Adults over 18 should be accompanied by a young person 18 years old or younger. The series is recommended for young people of middle school age and above, their parents, guardians and friends.


In its third season, the CIFF Student Classic Film Series is a cinematic cultural literacy program (how to watch, listen and understand films) introducing middle school and high school students to the cinematic art as it first developed and was practiced by masters of the craft during the Golden Age of Hollywood. While cinephiles may differ, the Golden Age is generally recognized as studio produced films made from the mid-1930s to the early-1960s. The era featured a unique mix of economic, cultural, and social conditions that perfectly aligned for producing great movies by the score.
The Student Classic Film Series exposes high school and middle school students and homeschoolers to the greatest motion pictures from The Golden Age of Hollywood. The Series offers a unique chance for young people to explore the history of the Hollywood Studio Era and the cultural legacy it bequeathed to audiences and aspiring filmmakers of today. All screenings are held in The Winn Room at the Coronado Public Library. All are free and open to the public. Adults over 18 must be accompanied by a young person 18 years or or younger. The program began in 2022 with seed-grant funding provided by the City of Coronado Community Grant.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

More Local News