Thursday, March 26, 2009

It Happened One Night

I saw this depression-era classic, It Happened One Night, last night, and immediately after I came to a much better understanding of my grandparents. I cannot explain it, just suddenly my grandparents' mannerisms and humor made a lot more sense.

The story is maudlin, the characters irascible, the humor heartfelt, the acting sublime (holy cow did I underestimate Cary Grant's acting chops, and Claudette Colbert really shines), and the whole thing works. And it works because it is infused with an ethos that is both pragmatic and ethical. There is more wisdom in this movie (informed by the day to day struggles of a generation during the great depression) than in most philosophy books.

My favorite scene in the movie was the discussion of piggy-back rides. Both hilarious and observational.