Saturday, November 20, 2010

#199 The Palm Beach Story (1942)


Director: Preston Sturges

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee, William Demarest, Robert Warwick, Sig Arno, Robert Dudley, Franklin Pangborn

Gerry Jeffers (Colbert) is a loving housewife of a new variety–determined to help her architect husband (McCrea) succeed, she divorces him and tries to find a new husband to finance his projects. Her husband, Tom, is of course driven practically mad with jealousy and misunderstanding at his wife's intentions. When Gerry takes off to West Palm Beach with one of the richest men in the world, John D. Hackensacker III (Vallee), Tom follows her there to win her back.

With a plot so ludicrous, it is easy to suspend disbelief and enjoy the sheer silliness of a film like this. You can't get mad at Claudette Colbert, no matter how goofy her acting is, and the costuming of this film unto itself is a masterpiece. Just in tow with other screwball comedies of the 1930s, this witty feel-gooder will keep you smiling. And just when you think it's impossible for all to come out of this happily, Sturges surprises you with an even more ridiculous happy ending than you could imagine. Pleasant to the end.

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