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The Palm Beach Story

Posted on

The Palm Beach Story

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
88 minutes
performer:
Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee
director:
Preston Sturges
distributor:
Paramount Pictures
author:
Preston Sturges
genre:
Comedy

We gave it a B+

Sadly, this is one of the few screwball comedy classics by writer-director Preston Sturges to be released on DVD (after extras-loaded Criterion editions of Sullivan’s Travels and The Lady Eve). While some elements seem dated (the stereotypical black train porter), the conceit is so wickedly cynical that it resonates for modern audiences: Claudette Colbert, who still loves her failed entrepreneur of a husband (Joel McCrea), heads to Palm Beach to get a quickie divorce and woo a millionaire in order to finance McCrea’s pricey, impractical dream project: a mid-city airport made of steel mesh strung between skyscrapers. The wacky group of supporting players includes a hard-of-hearing Wienie King, daffy oil scion John D. Hackensacker III, and drunken hunt clubbers who lead a rifle-firing, dog-driven posse through a moving train. As usual, Sturges’ dialogue pops like firecrackers: When McCrea promises ”we’ll get ahead some day,” Colbert retorts, ”But I don’t want it someday. I want it now while I can still enjoy it.” EXTRAS None, alas.