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The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Claudette Colbert , Joel McCrea , Preston Sturges  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee, Sig Arno
  • Directors: Preston Sturges
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: February 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006H32DY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,672 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Palm Beach Story" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

The captivating Claudette Colbert stars as the frustrated wife of struggling engineer Joel McCrea. In a seemingly amicable agreement, Colbert hops a train to Palm Beach where divorces come easy. Desperate to escape a group of obnoxious millionaires on the train to Florida, Colbert hides out in a sleeping car where she meets, unbeknownst to her, one of the world's richest men (Rudy Vallee) who is relentless in his attempt to romance her.Upon their arrival in Palm Beach, Colbert is met by her husband who has come to claim her back only to find that Vallee's man-crazy sister (Mary Astor) is after him! The foursome's story unfolds through intensely humorous dialogue, flirtatious situations and a splendid soundtrack.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Palm Beach Story July 24, 2005
Format:DVD
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.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spring for This One! April 25, 2005
Format:DVD
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.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Sturges's greatest comedies December 17, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
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.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "WHAT'S KNITTIN' , KITTENS?" February 13, 2005
Format:DVD
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....
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
fun to watch from a different era...
Published 3 days ago by Timothy R Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just as described
Published 5 days ago by Issac
1.0 out of 5 stars What on earth?
What on earth? From the first few frenzied frames, this moves moves from one unlikely event to the next enough to make you dizzy. Read more
Published 14 days ago by MasterMarquette
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep Smiling
"The Palm Beach Story" leave Palm Beach itself in limbo, which, one thinks, is a characteristic of Sturges's wit. To cut to the chase: the movie is captivating. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Constantine Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you loved Claudette Colbert in the old movies you'll love this one. JWH
Published 1 month ago by JWH
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and Funny Romantic Comedy!
One of my favorite movies. Claudette Colbert sets off for Palm Beach to get a divorce. On the way she meets a millionaire who will happily become husband number two after she is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by KiddyLitLover
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love! A great old movie!
Published 2 months ago by Lola P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film
Great on all counts. Both Rudy Vallee and Mary Astor should have won awards for their brilliant comic performances in support of the leads.
Published 2 months ago by R. Ginocchio
4.0 out of 5 stars dvd - The Palm Beach Story with Claudette Colbert
This was quite a funny movie. I would say all the main characters played their roles superbly. There were other characters in this movie that did a fine job of acting as well like... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ralph Everingham
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD has a problem
This DVD has problems playing right at the end. It arrived before expected and packaging was in excellent condition but the actual DVD was either damaged or of low quality. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lynn
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