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 <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. A popular favorite among local audiences, it was first telecast in Chicago 6 April 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Asheville NC 3 November 1959 on WLOS (Channel 13), in Milwaukee 9 November 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), in Seattle 28 November 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), in San Francisco 19 February 1960 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Detroit 1 March 1960 on WJBK (Channel 2), in Lowell MA (serving Boston) 3 March 1960 on WBZ (Channel 4), in Hartford, CT 10 March 1960 on WTIC, and in Salt Lake City 8 April 1960 on KUTV (Channel 2). It was first released on DVD 1 February 2005 by Universal as a single and again 21 November 2006 as one of seven titles in Universal's Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection. Since that time, it's also enjoyed frequent airings on Turner Classic Movies. See more »
For some reason, Joel McCrea's hair is parted on the right side in the beginning of the movie and changes sides when he arrives in Palm Beach to meet his wife. See more »
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn
Variations played in the score See more »
Sturges' Best: Funny, Sophisticated & Well-Studied by Billy Wilder
When commenting on a film as brilliantly constructed and deeply entertaining as The Palm Beach Story, it's hard to know just where to start.
Do you tip your hat to the uniformly wonderful performers?
Do you pay tribute to the bizarre and hilarious conversations held by the Weenie King (Robert Dudley), an incidental character who manages to be a lot more than a mere plot contrivance?
Do you mention the fact that the film was clearly an influence upon the (slightly superior) screwball classic Some Like It Hot?
Nope. You just say, Preston Sturges was a genius and this is his best film.
Gerry Jeffers (Claudette Colbert) has decided that she needs to divorce her husband Tom (Sturges regular Joel McCrea). Why? We're not quite sure. Perhaps she's looking for thrills, perhaps she simply wants a partner who can pay the rent and perhaps she's truly come to believe that she no longer loves him. No matter. Her mind is made up and there's nothing Tom can do about it. Try as he might, Gerry slips through his fingers and ends up on a train to Palm Beach, the divorce capital of the world.
Echoes of Some Like first appear on the train ride when Gerry finds herself unable to sleep do to the racket being caused by The Ale and Quail Club. It's bad enough when they start shooting out windows, and what comes next... let's just say that it's a lot funnier than it would be if it happened in real life.
Still, Gerry makes it to Palm Beach, in the company of nutty millionaire John D. Hackensacker (Rudy Vallee). Things only get really out of hand once Tom arrives and becomes pegged as a bachelor, Captain McGlew. And spoil more of the plot for you I will not.
Sturges was capable of operating in many modes: responsible and patriotic (Sullivan's Travels) and outrageously madcap (The Miracle of Morgan's Creek) are two that come to mind. But Palm Beach shares its elegance, wit and reserve with The Lady Eve, in which con artist Barbara Stanwyck sets her sights on absent-minded professor Henry Fonda. (Even the mistaken identity plot is similar upon examination).
Between the two, Eve may end on a slightly more graceful note, but Beach seems to be made with a bit more... well, experience. Sturges seems at his most relaxed throughout the film and it does a world of good. (The story is bogged down only by brief moments of racism early on). And leaving, it's hard not to feel sunny and refreshed.
For those in need of a vacation, I recommend a stay at Palm Beach. And the rest of you should come along as well.
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