The Palm Beach Story

1942, Movie, NR, 90 mins

Review

PALM BEACH STORY, THE
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Preston Sturges at full tilt, with Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee, and Mary Astor. Joel is a crazy young architect who has dreams of building a magnificent airport. Claudette is his adoring wife who, in search of investment money for her beloved's dreams, runs away to Palm Beach with the Ale and Quail Club and meets Rudy, the incredibly normal zillionaire J.D. Hackensacker III, who of course falls in love with her. Rudy's sister, Mary, falls for Joel. In the end all's set right again and each Jack has his Jill. It's hard to describe Sturges' special brand of comedy. Perhaps it's realistic farce. He takes a perfectly natural action and lets it run on just too long to the point of slight but affectionate absurdity.

McCrea and Sturges had just come off the wonderful SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, which took telling aim at Hollywood. They teamed again to snipe at the idle rich with this hysterically funny fairy tale. Colbert was never lovelier or more energetic than she is here, blithely delivering Sturges's sophisticated dialogue. Vallee is delightful as the somewhat naive and eccentric billionaire, carefully cataloging every cent he spends. As his sister, Astor is wickedly caustic, especially when dealing with her incomprehensible lover, Arno. As in SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, McCrea is well-cast, adeptly playing off the film's wild collection of characters. All the other roles are carefully cast and virtually anyone who walks on screen delivers a memorable witticism. Though this film may lack the satirical bite of Sturges's great comedies such as SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS or MIRACLE AT MORGAN'S CREEK, it remains a delight. leave a comment

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