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Claudette Colbert as Ellie: 8 Quotes About Iconic Role

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 04:00 PM

Her role as Ellie in "It Happened One Night" earned Claudette Colbert her one and only Oscar. It's an award she almost didn't accept in person since she was certain Bette Davis would win and opted to start a vacation on the same day, only to be whisked away from the train station on the day of the awards ceremony.

Here are eight quotes about Colbert's iconic role as Ellie.

1. "As buoyant and elegant as bubbles in a glass of champagne, Frank Capra's sublime 1934 comedy, written by long-time collaborator Robert Riskin, survives triumphantly because of its wit, charm, romantic idealism and its shrewd sketch of married life." – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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Of Colbert's performance, Bradshaw added, "Colbert's doe-eyed heiress has something of a wary, yet skittish woodland creature, as she disapprovingly peeps round the blanket. A great pleasure."

2. "This movie set the pace for the 'screwball' comedy, the witty and romantic clash of temperaments between a man and woman mismatched in both personality and social position." – Rotten Tomatoes

3. "Crisp dialogue and comedy with a fine dramatic punch combine to make this one for the most thoroughly enjoyable pieces of human drama ever put upon the screen.” – Hollywood Magazine, as reported by DearMr.Gable.com.

4. "I just finished the worst picture in the world."  – Claudette Colbert

Colbert made the demands of being paid "twice her usual salary, and she could finish in four weeks, so she could still meet friends in Sun Valley for a Christmas ski holiday," according to MovieDiva's Laura Boyes.

5. "This is the rare case where one picture really made a studio." – Michael Schlesinger, Los Angeles Times

Columbia Pictures was nicknamed "Poverty Row" before this picture was released and put it on the map.

6. "The story of a couple that meet, fight a lot, and then fall in love has now been done countless times in movies and on TV. Just remember though, that "It Happened One Night" did it nearly 70 years ago and no one since has done it better." – Eric Nash

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Nash, of Three Movie Buffs, points out what has long be heralded as one of the most memorable scenes from this film: the hitchhiking scene when Colbert shows off a little leg to get a ride.

7. "The film's romantic theme and 'battle of the sexes' one-upmanship gave audiences an escape from the drudgery of life during the Depression." – James Roman

Roman wrote "Bigger Than Blockbusters: Movies that Defined America," and dedicated a section to this classic film because "It Happened One Night" "possesses all the rudiments of the classic 'screwball' comedy."

8. "With 'It Happened One Night,' the actress had finally crystallized her star style, both physically and technically" – Gjon Mili, Vanity Fair

Mili wrote "A Perfect Star" article for Vanity Fair in 2000, revealing that Davis and Colbert's feud started that day and was still going strong in 1982 when Davis supposedly stated, "I got even, didn't I?" to Colbert as they waited for an elevator at the American Film Institute's tribute to "It Happened to One Night" director Frank Capra.

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Her role as Ellie in "It Happened One Night" earned Claudette Colbert her one and only Oscar. It's an award she almost didn't accept in person since she was certain Bette Davis would win and opted to start a vacation on the same day.
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