XL Popcorn – The Palm Beach Story

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 913/1009Title: The Palm Beach Story
Director: Preston Sturges
Year: 1942
Country: USA

Preston Sturges has three entries on the 1001 list, this is the final one for me to see. However, it turns out that it has been eight years since I last saw one of his films – so it is the first time I am writing about him. Previously I have seen Sullivan’s Travels and The Lady Eve both in 2013 – but I took long enough to get back to him as I just wanted to spare myself some good old-fashioned comedies until the final stretch.

Good comedy is a bit of an understatement though – I loved The Palm Beach Story. I know that Sullivan’s Travels is meant to be his pinnacle, but I think I preferred this one despite the multiple deus ex machinas and the sub-90 minute running time. This is a film that goes so into the ridiculousness of the situations that these moments that come out of nowhere, including a well-seeded twist at the end.

The comedy of re-marriage, or the comedy with a madcap marriage at the climax, is such a common trope in the Hays Code era – so The Palm Beach Story goes the other way by having the chaotic marriage happen at the beginning. It immediately sets the tone with Claudette Colbert showing straight away why she was one of the major comedic actors of her era and continuing to do so on her trip to Palm Beach in order to secure both a divorce and a second, richer husband.

Then, later on, Mary Astor and Rudy Vallée burst onto the screen as ‘Rockefeller’ style siblings and help to make the final half hour a freight train of laughs and ridiculousness. It’s been a while since a comedy film tickled me as much as this did, the final moments leading both myself and my husband to laugh gasp and then immediately re-watch the opening sequence. I know that some people will have hated how the film ends, but I loved it and loved that there was a clue set up for us. I’m glad I saved this film so that it could chase away the blah taste of Sleeping Dogs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.