June Allyson stars as Ellie Andrews, a wealthy society dame rebelling against her father's strict command. She has eloped with a wealthy gigolo type, but has been kidnapped away from him by her family in hopes of being granted an annulment. Before the papers can be signed, Ellie runs away again, this time on a bus to find her new husband. On the way she meets Peter Warne (Jack Lemmon), a news reporter out for a good story. He agrees to help Ellie in exchange for the exclusive story, but the two develop a relationship while on the road.
Allyson is not quite elegant enough to pass as a member of the elite upper class and Lemmon lacks the charm of Clark Gable, so each fall short in their parts. However, it is always nice to see them, whether they excel or not.
All of the classic moments are here from the group song in the bus, the search for raw carrots, the hitch hiking scene, and the "walls of Jericho" bit. These inclusions should have been done like a proud tribute to the original, but they're played like they've never been done before, and fall very flat. It's like they found a stunning old gown in a trunk thats become threadbare and moth eaten over time and tried to pass it off as new. Who were they kidding? Part of the problem is comparing this version to the original film. If one has never seen It Happened One Night, this movie might fare better. It has its moments, and once they get going, the musical numbers aren't all that bad. The color is quite striking too. This version is perfect for younger audiences who refuse to watch black and white, but adults will prefer the wit of the original.
It it worth noting that the TCM print is a pan-and-scan version, so we lose some of the original splendor. Shame on you TCM for denouncing pan-and-scan and then showing it!