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The Palm Beach Story
The Palm Beach Story
Actors: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee, Sig Arno
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
NR     2005     1hr 28min



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Movie Details

Actors: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee, Sig Arno
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classic Comedies
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/01/2005
Original Release Date: 11/07/1942
Theatrical Release Date: 11/07/1942
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

The Palm Beach Story
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, this is a work of genius. Preston Sturges wrote and directed THE PALM BEACH STORY, one of the best screwball comedies ever, made (1942) when the they weren't making many madcap comedies anymore. At least not the type that appealed to adult sensibilities. Like most screwball comedies it's a story of two slightly mismatched lovers, here caught in the fourth year of their marriage. Joel McCrea plays Tom Jeffers, an inventor and builder who's having difficulties making a go of it. Claudette Colbert is his wife Geraldine, a beautiful woman who can't cook or sew and by now feels she's become a bit of a `milestone' to her husband. So it's off to Palm Beach, where she can obtain a divorce, marry a wealthy man and get the $90,000 her husband needs to build his skyline airport. You see, she still loves him, and he still loves her....

The raw materials of comedy are also those of melodrama and tragedy. A story of love imperiled by impending poverty can be taken down Heartbreak Road, but THE PALM BEACH STORY is filled with more delightful oddballs and surreal situations than any other movie I can think of, beginning with the Colbert character, who makes any number of odd decisions based on the `logic of the situation.' Problems begin when the `Wienie King' appears. He's a little old man in an oversized coat and hat who's a bit hard of hearing and a bit gruff of manner, wonderfully played by veteran character actor Robert Dudley. Generous of nature and a fount of common-sensical wisdom beneath his crust, the Wienie King's act of largesse early on in the film starts the jealously and resentment ball rolling. Like all the secondary characters in this one, though, he's more angel than devil, and his generosity will pay off in the end. And, again like most of the minor characters, he gets more laughs than Colbert or McCrea, who more - much more, in the case of McCrea - or less play it straight while the comedy froths about them. Dudley isn't the only funny character, either. There's the Ale and Quail Club members who adopt Colbert as a mascot for a spell, and Sig Arno as a strange foreigner, language spoken and country of origin unknown, who plays gigolo to Mary Astor's Princess Centimillia. Astor's man-hungry princess is the sister of John D. Hackensacker III, son of the son of an oil baron and played to comic perfection by Rudy Vallee. It's in this fizzy sea of absurd to surreal characters that THE PALM BEACH STORY tells its tale of love triumphant.

What can you say about a comedy that still makes you laugh even though you've watched it a zillion times? Colbert is beautiful, McCrea is rock steady, and Vallee is a comic revelation. This one still breezes by every time I watch it. The highest recommendation for what's, in my opinion, one of the best comedies ever made. The print's in okay condition and the dvd offers no extras.

One of Sturges's greatest comedies
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 12/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an absolutely stunning comedy, with one comic shock and delight after another, and hilarious performances by a bevy of some of the best character actors in the history of Hollywood.Highpoints include a trip on the railroad with the Ale and Quail Club; an introduction to The Weenie King, on of the funniest characters I know of in any film; Rudy Valee's unexpectedly delightful portrayal of a Rockefeller-like multi-millionaire; Mary Astor's excellent performance as Rudy Valee's sister; and a gentleman of unspecified ethnic origin known simply as "Toto."The opening credits of the movie are among the most fascinating of the thirties or forties. While the credits are running, we see onscreen an entire prequel somehow involving two sets of identical twins (one set played by Joel McCrea and the other by Claudette Colbert). Preston Sturges is not the best director the United States has ever produced, but he unquestionably enjoyed the finest five year period of any director we have ever seen. From 1940 until 1945, Preston Sturges enjoyed a run of amazingly crafted comedy masterpieces that by themselves place him on any list of the essential directors. In the late 1930s, Sturges built a name for himself by penning a number of first rate comedy scripts, including the classic EASY LIVING as well as REMEMBER THE NIGHT. Paramount gave him a shot at directing, and he responded with films like THE GREAT McGINTY, CHRISTMAS IN JULY, the great THE LADY EVE, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, THE PALM BEACH STORY, THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK, and HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO. But then, suddenly and without warning, his genius deserted him.But this is one of the best of his best. Just sit back, get yourself pleasant to drink, and have a good time."
Spring for This One!
Randy Buck | Brooklyn, NY USA | 04/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ignore the carping here from other reviewers about DVD quality (just fine, if short on extras) or the merits of the film -- how ridiculous, when PALM BEACH STORY is one of the funniest, most adult comedies from Hollywood's Golden Age! Colbert has never been more charmingly pragmatic, and the underrated Joel McCrea simmers and stews with virile magnetism and ace comic timing. Throw in stellar supporting turns from Mary Astor and Rudy Vallee (whose rendition of "Goodnight, Sweetheart" sparks the film's finale), the usual Sturges suspects wrecking a train as the hilarious Ale and Quail Club, and the unforgettable Wienie King, my nominee for most endearing supporting performance in any classic movie, and this DVD is a real bargain. If you know the film, you'll be happy with this transfer. If not, sit back and relax -- visiting Paramount's blissfully loony Manhattan and Palm Beach, you're in the hands of masters."
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 02/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Very funny farce written and directed by Preston Sturges. Jerry (Claudette Colbert) runs away from engineer husband Tom (Joel McCrea) after feeling she's in the way of his success and tired of being poor. The Wienie King (don't ask) gives her $700. She spends it and flees to Palm Beach for a divorce with no money and no clothes. On the train, after the Ale & Quail Club pay her fare (don't ask), she is hounded by the rowdy (and I mean ROWDY) bunch until the conductor is forced to abandon the car! Then she steps on and meets "Snoodles" Hackensacker (Rudy Valee) a stiff as starch but charming multimillionaire who buys her clothes and lets her stay at his Palm Beach mansion with his husband hunting sister (Mary Astor) and her "guest" a bizarre French (?) kook who's always falling down. Then Tom shows up (after also meeting the Wienie King) and then everything gets even crazier. Alternately funny, romantic, sexy (oh yes) and surreal, this overlooked gem is packed with rapid fire dialogue, double entendres and just plain lunacy. "Palm Beach Story" must have been very adult for the time (1942) because it still tickles in the right places. Colbert's costumes are stunning and she is delightful as Jerry. The DVD print is very good. Enjoy. And try to figure out the opening title sequences...."