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A Breezy, Witty Comedy
on 4 August 2005
A great cast and some snappy dialogue make this nutty comedy about a woman who wants to divorce her husband in order to finance him by marrying a wealthy man, is everything this genre of comedy can be. Preston Sturges wrote and directed this little gem with fast pacing, and lots of little character parts to back up his stars, that help the keep the humor going throughout the film. The generous but deaf Wenie King (Robert Dudley), Sig Arno as Toto, and Arthur Hoyt as the Pullman conductor are among those that make this film take flight.
Claudette Colbert sparkles, and looks heavenly in an assortment of lavish gowns, and Joel McCrea plays her handsome but penniless husband, an inventor whose ideas have never paid off. Enter myopic millionaire John D. Hackensacker III, played with marvelous ease by Rudy Vallee, who goes on a shopping spree when he meets Claudette that includes a very large diamond ring. To complicate matters, Rudy has a sophisticated and lustful sister (Mary Astor in a terrific performance), who sets her heart on Joel, because she has been led to believe he is Claudette's brother.
Victor Young wrote the music, and Rudy Vallee, the legendary "Megaphone Crooner" of the 1930s, sings "Goodnight Sweetheart." Always unpredictable, "Palm Beach Story" is a silly, wacky farce that is written with intelligence, making it a smart and sassy comedy, with never a dull moment between chuckles. Total running time is 88 minutes.