Only three films in the history of the Academy Awards have ever won “The Big Five”—Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. Silence Of The Lambs was the most recent. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest did it in the mid-1970s. And then there’s the first film ever to complete the sweep: It Happened One Night, originally released in 1934. A template for romantic comedies even now, It Happened One Night stars Clark Gable as scruffy reporter Peter Warne, who stumbles onto a story in the form of Ellie Andrews (played by Claudette Colbert), a runaway heiress traveling incognito so that she escape her father and be with her gold-digging secret husband. Inevitably, opposites attract, as Peter takes Ellie under his wing to teach her how to be an ordinary person, and Ellie charms Peter with her own surprising resourcefulness. Director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin (adapting a Samuel Hoskins Adams short story) made one of the rare screen romances where the lovers actually get to know each other before they fall in love. They also made the kind of movie that’s a pleasure to revisit, since each new viewing is another change to take the same trip with Peter and Ellie, and watch them get hooked on each other all over again. It Happened One Night airs 8 p.m. Eastern, Sunday night, on TCM
Or: It’s Elizabeth Taylor day today on TCM, which means you should come home early, pour yourself the first of several tall ones, and settle into George Stevens’ immensely entertaining American epic Giant at 4:15 p.m. Eastern. Then, if you’re good and drunk by midnight, you’ll be ready for the psychological gamesmanship of Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (as adapted for the screen by director Mike Nichols). Watch Taylor play Get The Guests, Bringing Up Baby, and Hump The Hostess tonight on TCM.