In the 1934 classic It Happened One Night, heiress Claudette Colbert races away from the altar and a conventional marriage and throws herself into a wisecracking rough-and-tumble affair with Clark Gable. The new brand of movies following in the wake of Capra’s kooky masterpiece-and the women starring in them-are the focus of Kendall’s The Runaway Bride, a look at the films that mirrored the climate of the Great Depression while at the same time helping Americans get through it. Kendall details the collaborations between the romantic comedy directors and the female stars, showing how such films as Alice Adams (with Katherine Hepburn), Swing Time (where Ginger Rogers enjoys “A Fine Romance” with Fred Astaire),

The Awful Truth (with Irene Dunne), and The Lady Eve (wherein Barbara Stanwyck’s shapely leg repeatedly trips naïve millionaire Henry Fonda) came to be, and what they said about the 1930s. Written with erudition and enthusiasm, The Runaway Bride is a trip through some of Hollywood’s most memorable moments, and a key to the national issues of an era as revealed in its films.

Written with erudition, insight, and enthusiasm, The Runaway Bride is a brilliant mix of film and social history that renews our vision and broadens our understanding of some of the best-loved movies ever made, and the complex, Depression-influenced circumstances from which they were born.

Both film and social history, Elizabeth Kendall’s Runaway Bride studies the birth and development of the Depression-era romantic comedy and the changing roles of women within it. Through colorful anecdotes and lively prose, Kendall shows how the changing social mores of the 1930s created the need for stronger, more dynamic leading ladies like Claudette Colbert, Katharine Hepburn, and Ginger Rogers. Working with innovative directors such as Frank Capra and Preston Sturges, these women created characters who were tough, independent, witty and, in a new way, pivotal to the action and emotion on the screen. (Book Cover)




  1. Capra And Stanwyck: Ladies of Leisure
  2. Capra And Colbert: It Happened One Night
  3. Romantic Comedy Settles In
  4. Stevens And Hepburn: Alice Adams
  5. Stevens And Rogers: Swing Time
  6. Capra And Arthur: Mr. Deeds Goes To Town
  7. La Cava and Lombard: My Man Godfrey
  8. La Cava, Rogers, And Hepburn: Stage Door
  9. McCarey And Dunne: The Awful Truth
  10. McCarey, Stevens, and Dunne: Love Affair and Penny Serenade
  11. Sturges, Stanwyck, and Colbert: The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story