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The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Passed  |   |  Romance, Comedy  |  7 November 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 8,002 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 60 critic

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 overview, first billed only:
J.D. Hackensacker III
Sig Arno ...
Robert Warwick ...
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
Roscoe Ates ...
Fourth Member Ale and Quail Club (as Rosco Ates)
Dewey Robinson ...
Fifth Member Ale and Quail Club


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Romance | Comedy


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 November 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Palm Beach történet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Preston Sturges's perfectionism slowed down production. He refused to move on to close-ups until he had a perfect master shot, and he would stop and do a new take if an actor changed a word of the script. William Demarest, who appeared in eight Sturges films, would later say, "He had a great memory. If you changed anything, he'd say, 'Wait a minute,' and, goddamn, he was right." See more »


On the train: the men with the shotguns shoot out the glass of the same window several times. See more »


Gerry Jeffers: Don't you know that the greatest men in the world have told lies and let things be misunderstood if it was useful to them? Didn't you ever hear of a campaign promise?
See more »


Referenced in Intolerable Cruelty (2003) See more »


Frankie and Johnny
Played on the piano in the rail car as Gerry arrives
See more »

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User Reviews

Zany fun...overflowing with Sturges madness!
7 April 2005 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

THE PALM BEACH STORY is not to be confused with reality. It's a zany romantic comedy given full speed treatment by director Preston Sturges who brought screwball comedy to an art form.

His script, full of hilarious one-liners that fly by almost too fast to catch, is acted to perfection by CLAUDETTE COLBERT, RUDY VALLEE and MARY ASTOR--with a less enthusiastic turn by JOEL McCREA who gives the only so-so performance, perhaps because none of the wittiest lines come his way. I've always liked this actor but here is performance is almost muted and strangely remote.

Nevertheless, if screwball comedy is your dish, this is one you can relish. From the moment Colbert gets aboard a train carrying her to Palm Beach, the fun starts and gets into high gear, racing toward a conclusion that is not altogether satisfying nor even remotely hinted at until the final few minutes of film. It's a twist that somehow doesn't ring true--the only really false note in an otherwise perfect screwball comedy.

Rudy Vallee is outstanding as a nutty millionaire, a role written expressly for him (and he even gets to sing a little)--and Mary Astor, as his husband hunting sister, is hilariously over the top as a woman who can't stop talking while pursuing her man.

A good way to spend a pleasant 90 minutes.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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