Newest Reviews
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
  Palm Beach Story, The Where Did Our Love Go?
Year: 1942
Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee, Sig Arno, Robert Warwick, Arthur Stuart Hull, Torben Meyer, Jimmy Conlin, Victor Potel, William Demarest, Jack Norton, Robert Greig, Roscoe Ates, Dewey Robinson, Chester Conklin, Franklin Pangborn
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: The tale of how Gerry (Claudette Colbert) and Tom Jeffers (Joel McCrea) were eventually married is such an unlikely one that it hardly bears going into in any great detail, but what you need to know is they lived happily ever after. Or did they? Advance a few years of wedded bliss and the bliss is in short supply, with Gerry wanting to divorce Tom since his grand plans for a new type of airport which will be situated over cities rather than some way outside them is failing miserably, and with the money running out dramatically she doesn't think there's any point in them continuing. But Tom wants to carry on...

In 1942 the Second World War was raging and the United States had just waded in, so all the Hollywood studios were crafting their patriotic propaganda movies to do their bit for the troops. Director Preston Sturges, slap bang in the middle of his meteoric rise as one of the finest manufacturers of screwball comedies that the early nineteen-forties had to offer, was not going to travel down that road, however: indeed, his idea of a patriotic film was the decidedly subversive Hail the Conquering Hero, but what he recognised was the value of escapism, especially when the future looks bleak. Give us something to cheer us up, said the public, and he was only too happy to oblige.

What he came up with in the space of a year were two films, Sullivan's Travels and The Palm Beach Story. The former explicitly examined the worth of entertainment to not only take the audience's minds off the problems in their lives, but to actually fortify them and sustain them through those dark times: these works were incredibly important, Sturges reasoned. But with the latter, he took his own advice to heart and created a comedy which was laugh a minute and just the tonic to cheer the public when they were low, and along with that he introduced a sly commentary on just how valuable the Hollywood ideal of romance was to a real life where things just didn't work out so well a lot of the time.

The title sequence is ingenious, since it shows the denouement of another screwball comedy we will never see, the story of how Tom and Gerry (hah!) got together in the first place, blatantly ridiculous and precisely the sort of movie that The Palm Beach Story was, yet was also a commentary on. The wild coincidences, eccentric characters, fast-paced dialogue and a hefty dose of romance were all here, but the sadness that this was pure fantasy was never far away: after all, the hero and heroine who should have been appreciating their union thanks to the Hollywood ending are now splitting up. Sturges still mined humour from this, with Tom chasing after Gerry as she tries to slip out of the apartment unnoticed, and there was no bitterness, but the sense this whole situation was a true shame was never far away. Fortunately, none of the people we see sit around moping, they endeavour their utmost to do something positive with the scenario that is not looking too good for them.

So Gerry may have gotten on a train to Palm Beach to secure a divorce, but Tom is determined to win her back whether it means a life of poverty or not. On that train typical Sturges lunacy erupts, as a hunting club (but mostly a drinking club) of millionaires buy her a ticket, then proceed to engineer a meeting with another millionaire who is in the sleeping car after the club get so drunk they start shooting up the train, all the while singing harmonies at the top of their voices. The rich bachelor Gerry meets is J.D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee) and he falls for her in a big way, taking her to his mansion to stay with his flighty sister (Mary Astor talking a mile a minute) while she gets the marriage ended. But Tom follows... Embracing the preposterousness to illustrate the benefits of ludicrous plot contrivances, Sturges also managed a scene of such sweet romance after all that laughter which was unexpectedly affecting during Vallee's serenade as the married couple realise they can't live without each other. Once again, escapism has value: never underestimate the power of cheap music - or great comedy. Music by Victor Young.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2208 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan


Last Updated: