January 04, 2013

The Palm Beach Story

In order to help husband out financially, a determined wife (Claudette Colbert) leaves him and heads to Palm Beach so she can find a rich man to marry. A clever idea, from writer-director Preston Sturges, The Palm Beach Story (1942) is considered one of the great screwball comedies. It has the fast-paced delivery so emblematic of those films, and some good, amusing performances, including Colbert's as Geradline, Joel McCrea's as her husband, Rudy Vallee's as the generous, naive zillionaire Colbert meets on a train, and Mary Astor's, as the zillionaire's man-leech of a sister, who turns talking fast into an art (at times an irritating art, but she's funny nevertheless). The story isn't all that far off from The Lady Eve, another Sturges comedy, which is sharper and funnier than this fizzy, somewhat dated, but likable, inoffensive comedy. ½

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