- The Palm Beach Story review by Steve
Sturges' best film is a very funny vehicle for comedy legend Claudette Colbert, but stolen adorably by crooner Rudy Vallee in a (mostly) non-musical role. As with many Sturges farces, this adapts familiar screwball themes: Colbert (Gerry Jeffers) flees from home and marriage and travels across country without money or luggage, hoping to attract a rich benefactor.
She is adopted by eccentric oil millionaire John D. Hackensacker III (Vallee) while Colbert's husband (Joel McCrea) races her down to Palm Beach to save his marriage. The film starts off at full speed and never lets up, the baffling opening scene satisfyingly resolved in a crazy finale.
There is less physical humour in The Palm Beach Story than usual for Sturges, though a motif of Colbert continually breaking Vallee's glasses with her feet is actually pretty funny. There is a typical Sturges supporting cast of oddballs, such as the very deaf Wienie King and the rifle shooting members of the Ail and Quail Club.
But it is the opposites-attract chemistry of Colbert and Vallee that makes the film so special. They turn the dialogue into pure gold, whether Hackensacker's homespun, faux-naif philosophy or Gerry Jeffers' streetwise wit. The last great screwball comedy, bringing to a close a golden age of the cinema.
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