The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Preston Sturges directs Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea and Rudy Vallée in this screwball comedy where a loving wife leaves her husband so he can focus on his dream of building an airport suspended over the city.

My first Preston Sturges experience. I really liked it. Had the same energy as Capra or Hawks at their best but with a more modern playfulness. A brilliant showcase for the sexy comic battering ram that is Colbert, and Mary Astor gets a great role too. Not just an utterly pleasurable watch but paced so strangely you kinda want to watch it all over again straight away. I have no idea what happened during the opening sequence that appears to be a highlight reel from a previous “never made” chapter of the Jeffers zany romance but I’m pretty sure it might explain the out of nowhere finale. Even when it makes no rational sense, this was witty and gorgeous larks. The first setpiece between our heroine and the deaf and lustless Wienie King who invades her apartment is a masterclass of exposition and charming back-and-forth.

9

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