The Palm Beach Story 1942 NR CC

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(76) IMDb 7.9/10
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Money makes the world go 'round, or so Gerry (Claudette Colbert) believes when she divorces her struggling husband (McCrea) and supports him by marrying a millionaire.

Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea
1 hour, 29 minutes

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The Palm Beach Story

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Product Details

Genres Romance, Comedy
Director Preston Sturges
Starring Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea
Supporting actors Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee, Sig Arno, Robert Warwick, Arthur Stuart Hull, Torben Meyer, Jimmy Conlin, Victor Potel, William Demarest, Jack Norton, Robert Greig, Roscoe Ates, Dewey Robinson, Chester Conklin, Sheldon Jett, Robert Dudley, Franklin Pangborn, Arthur Hoyt
Studio Universal Studios
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Great comedies always have clever dialogue.
E. Lambeth
What can you say about a comedy that still makes you laugh even though you've watched it a zillion times?
Steven Hellerstedt
This was Claudette Colbert at her best, and she provides a wonderful performance.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on 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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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Randy Buck VINE VOICE on 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 By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By Mark Norvell on 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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