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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Although still in love with her husband who is a financial failure, a wife (Claudette Colbert) decides to leave her husband (Joel McCrea) and go to Palm Beach for a divorce. On the train, she meets an eccentric millionaire (Rudy Vallee) who is taken with her and he brings her on his yacht. But when they arrive in Palm Beach, they are greeted by his man hungry sister (Mary Astor) ..... and the husband who wants his wife back! This may well be my favorite Preston Sturges comedy. His trademarks are all in evidence, the rapid fire witty dialogue and the galloping pace with barely a moment to breathe. The movie sags a bit with the Ale And Quail Club sequence which isn't as funny as it thinks it is but it soon recovers. No surprise, Colbert and McCrea are in familiar territory so their performances are expectedly expert but the scene stealers are Vallee and especially Astor, who one doesn't think of as a comedienne but she's hilarious here. Screwball comedy at its best. With William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn and Robert Dudley.

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