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The Palm Beach Story Photos

Movie Info

This screwball comedy finds married couple Tom (Joel McCrea) and Gerry Jeffers (Claudette Colbert) in a strained relationship, largely due to financial difficulties. Gerry decides to leave Tom, a struggling architect, and head to Palm Beach in order to marry a wealthy man who could fund Tom's projects. When Tom follows Gerry, they cross paths with the quirky millionaire John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee) and his chatty, husband-seeking sister, Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor).

Cast & Crew

Claudette Colbert
Geraldine "Gerry" Jeffers
Joel McCrea
Tom Jeffers
Rudy Vallee
John D. Hackensacker III
Mary Astor
The Princess Centimillia
Robert Warwick
Mr. Hinch, Ale and Quail Club
Jimmy Conlin
Mr. Asweld, Ale and Quail Club
Victor Potel
Mr. McKeewie
Victor Young
Original Music
Victor Milner
Cinematographer
Hans Dreier
Art Direction
Ernst Fegté
Art Direction
Irene
Costume Designer
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Palm Beach Story

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (1)

  • In many ways this screwball comedy is a precursor to Some Like It Hot, but with a silkier wit and some gorgeous fashions.

    January 28, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This might not be the funniest film of Sturges' brilliant '40s heyday ("The Miracle of Morgan's Creek"), or the most subversively romantic ("The Lady Eve"), or the best made ("Sullivan's Travels"), but it's definitely a censor-baiting treat.

    April 11, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Even as Colbert and McCrea trade fast-paced dialogue and fall into each others' arms, they sell their characters' marriage as one whose fire desperately needs tending.

    February 4, 2015 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • This Prestton Sturges production is packed with delightful absurdities.

    November 13, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Rudy Vallee turns in his best performance as a gentle, puny millionaire named Hackensacker in this brilliant, simultaneously tender and scalding 1942 screwball comedy by Preston Sturges.

    February 9, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Hilarious, irresistible, impeccably cast.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Palm Beach Story

  • May 10, 2019
    A trifle of a film, a light confectionary, but exquisitely prepared by writer/director Preston Sturges, concerns the misadventures of a married couple (Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert) when the wife decides to positively affect her husband's failing career by divorcing him, and marrying some rich guy, any rich guy. Yes, wacky (as rich old guys just walk into a scene, hand out wads of cash and then disappear again!), but nonetheless charming. And as well-rounded a piece of work as you are like to see.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 29, 2012
    Written and directed by Preston Sturges ("Sullivan's Travels", "The Lady Eve"), The Palm Beach Story once again shows his knack for wittiness and light-hearted cynicism when it comes to conniving females. This time it's Claudette Colbert who uses her feminine wiles to manipulate wealthy men into doing her bidding. Her husband (Joel McCrea) doesn't want to let her go, but she's decided to leave him for the noble cause of letting him live within his means. This means she'll be free to pursue wealthy old men and live the kind of lifestyle she feels she's meant to live, but this of course is only a lucky coincidence for them both. Even with her self-sacrifice, her husband would rather keep ahold of her, and follows her down to Palm Springs where she's latched onto a wealthy poindexter by the name of J.D. Hackensacker the Third (Rudy Vallee). Of course his sister, The Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor) thinks the husband is a dreamboat, but she'll chase after any guy, apparently. Colbert convinces her wealthy beau that her husband is actually her brother, and this leads to double dating and double courtships. The Palm Beach Story stands out from other farcical comedies of it's day because it's rapid fire dialogue and quick pace are still just as clever today as they were when the film was made. Colbert and McCrea are fine as the leads, but it's Vallee and Astor who steal the show. The hedonistic playground of the wealthy is rich fodder for comedies of deceit, and this one takes quite a bit of the cake.
    Devon B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2011
    A woman separates from her husband so she can gold dig for his benefit. I'm confused by the unanimous approval this film garnered. There are a lot of madcap absurdities from beginning to end, including the most gullible millionaire in film history and some crazy gun-toting club who shoot up a train. More importantly, Claudette Colbert's character's objective is to seduce men into giving her money, which, although believable, makes her character difficult to identify with even if she plans to use the money for a "good cause." And the deus ex machina at the end is too ridiculous to believe. Overall, after a finished watching this film, I was convinced that it was proof that not all old films are gold, and even after I finished reading critics' uncritical support of it, I can't say I've been swayed.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    I remember loving this movie, but from reading the synopsis on here, it didn't remind me of the plot any, so I can't remember at the moment. I want to see this movie again.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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