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The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Passed | | Romance, Comedy | 7 November 1942 (USA)
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An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
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J.D. Hackensacker III
...
Toto
...
Mr. Hinch
Arthur Stuart Hull ...
Mr. Osmond
Torben Meyer ...
Dr. Kluck
Jimmy Conlin ...
Mr. Asweld
Victor Potel ...
Mr. McKeewie
...
First Member Ale and Quail Club
Jack Norton ...
Second Member Ale and Quail Club
Robert Greig ...
Third Member Ale and Quail Club
...
Fourth Member Ale and Quail Club (as Rosco Ates)
...
Fifth Member Ale and Quail Club
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Storyline

Gerry and Tom Jeffers are finding married life hard. Tom is an inventor/ architect and there is little money for them to live on. They are about to be thrown out of their apartment when Gerry meets rich businessman being shown around as a prospective tenant. He gives Gerry $700 to start life afresh but Tom refuses to believe her story and they quarrel. Gerry decides the marriage is over and heads to Palm Beach for a quick divorce but Tom has plans to stop her. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Romance | Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

7 November 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Palm Beach történet  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One thing slowing the film down was Preston Sturges's problems with Mary Astor. Although she was an accomplished screen actress, the Sturges brand of comedy did not come naturally to her. She would later write, "It was not my thing. I couldn't talk in a high fluty voice and run my words together as he thought high society women did, or at least mad high society women who'd had six husbands and six million dollars." See more »

Goofs

During the shoot out on the train, the cracker bowl is knocked over. The rod used to knock it over is visible. See more »

Quotes

John D. Hackensacker III: Staterooms are un-American.
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Connections

Referenced in Some Like It Hot (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)
(1851) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung by the Ale and Quail Club members
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's a slightly cynical screwball comedy about lust and greed.
17 September 1998 | by (Seattle) – See all my reviews

The "Palm Beach Story" has a poor title but it's a hilarious movie by the sometimes cynical master of comedy, Preston Sturges. "Palm" comes a year after Sturges far lesser comedy, "The Lady Eve", staring Stanwyck and a dull Henry Fonda. The superior comedy, "Palm," rivals the greatest screwballs like "Bringing up Baby" and "The Awful Truth" for sustained insanity and strength of characterization.

In this screwball masterpiece, the characters' flakiness is shared by the rest of their absurd world. It climaxes in a fantastic scene set on a train where an "Ale and Quale" club goes on a drunken shooting spree, forming a posse that tramps from car to car singing "A hunting we will go".

As Anthony Lane argues, "Palm" presents a realist view of the prominence of sex and greed as motivating and blinding forces. In a key scene, Colbert gives a little speech about "the look", or the copulatory gaze, that she's been getting from every man since she was 14. This movie is slightly cynical and funnier for it's richness. Comedy is set off against discussions of lost opportunity and youth. "Topic A" is what runs the world of "The Palm Beech Story", but sometimes topic B, money, is temporarily more important. After leaving her struggling husband, Gerry gets prizes from any horny man she comes in contact with: rent money from the regretful wiener king, taxi rides, a train ticket from hunters, and dresses and rubies from a millionaire. Also, the Princess has a kept pet-man who tags along as she pursues new husbands.

Sturges shares with Wilder and Allen a slighlty cynical view of human "nature". As Lane points out, they don't have a conservative Catholic view of the inherent selfishness and sinfulness of human kind, but a liberal, more Deweyan, view of human potential, slightly jaded from their experience. They are not without hope, but aware of limitation. Sturges is beyond naivete, like many of his screwball compatriots, and frankly examines weaknesses that others avoid or deny, and he criticizes conventions that supposedly created a utopia in the 1950's.

This is one of the highlights of the screwball genre that illuminatingly explores, like no other group of films, life, love, gender, sexuality, and desire in 20th century America in an endearing and always fun manner.


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