The rest of the cast is equally magnificent and the Criterion disc is packed with bonus features to keep you entertained long after the credits roll. Freeze frame of Claudette Colbert hailing a cab in bridal garb. Gerry and Tom Jeffers (Colbert and Joel McCrea) are a struggling married couple. Preston Sturges continues to be the master of comedy, and yet every one of his movies feels completely unique and different. on title cards. ), The TCM Top Twelve for September 2016 | Journeys in Classic Film, Interview: Tom Sturges Talks Life, Cinema, and His Dad Preston Sturges – Journeys in Classic Film, #97: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975 with Scott Michaels), #96: Interview With Actress Carroll Baker, #94: Marlene Dietrich, Grand Dame of Moviedom, https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Tom and Gerry Jeffers (Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert) are a married couple in New York City who are down on their luck financially, which is pushing the marriage to an end. The Palm Beach Story is a 1942 romantic screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges, and starring Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor and Rudy Vallée. He too is trying to steal the wedding. Recently released and lovingly restored to DVD and Blu from Criterion, The Palm Beach Story ups the romance, the laughs, and the sensuality! Learn more about Fritzi's work and support it here. You would think her mean, but Astor’s delivery makes it sound like the spoils of being spoiled. Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert, stars of The Palm Beach Story, from the trailer for the film. The Palm Beach Story’s title sequence is something very different: a fast-paced mystery prologue in pantomime, propelled by a breathless mash-up of the “William Tell Overture” and the “Wedding March”. This was the seventh of ten films written by Preston Sturges in which William Demarest appeared. was rejected by the censors of the Hays Office, who also rejected the script that Paramount submitted to them because of its "sex suggestive situations...and dialogue." Victor Young contributed the lively musical score, including a fast-paced variation of the William Tell Overture for the opening scenes. He molds actors into showing off their comedic potential and we see that here with Astor, especially. The two remain married from 1937 until 1942 where the film resumes. The pantomime is cross-cut with action showing McCrea hurriedly changing from one formal suit to another in the car as he rushes to the church. Soon, Hackensacker falls for Gerry, while his often-married, man-hungry sister, Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor), chases Tom, although her last lover, Toto (Sig Arno), is still following her around. But to be really funny, Sturges is telling us in this wordless opening salvo, a movie should also look fun. The end result is that the two siblings, not the original bride or groom, are married, and those two were not in love with each other. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. In an exquisite touch, when Colbert unfreezes, her movements are sped up momentarily so that her impatient bounces look as if her kitten-heeled pumps are on tiny springs. Victor Young contributed the lively musical score, including a fast-paced variation of the William Tell Overture for the opening scenes. Art of the Title is made with ❤ in Toronto and is supported by readers like you. Actress Carroll Baker talks about her time in Hollywood, working with the legendary Elia Kazan on Baby Doll, and more. The Palm Beach Story is about pie in the sky dreams. 1940s, Comedy, Romance, TCM Top Twelve, The July Five. Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. Works appearing on Art of the Title are the property of their respective owners. I’m unsure why I feel Colbert comes off like Jean Arthur; or maybe Jean Arthur borrowed from Colbert in this? There she plans to get a divorce and meet a wealthy second husband who can help Tom. I mean, just look at the nature of the plot or Tom’s dream of an airport that hangs in the air with wire for proof of the absurdity of the characters’ dreams. – a question which the four-times-wed Sturges certainly must have asked himself. Palm Beach County. The opening scene is famous, introducing Gerry and Tom on their wedding day…with Claudette Colbert locked in a closet one minute, and rushing to her wedding in a wedding dress the next. Dearly Departed Tours owner Scott Michaels joins us to get down with the residents of Transylvania in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Changes were made, but the Hays Office continued to reject the script because of its "light treatment of marriage and divorce" and because of similarities between the John D. Hackensacker III character and John D. Rockefeller. The film ends where it began after the prologue, with the words "And they lived happily ever after...or did they?" When Gerry gets an influx of money from a kind fairy godfather of sorts, she decides to use it to get a divorce. On the train, she meets the eccentric John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallée), one of the richest men in the world. Because of an encounter with the wild and drunken millionaire members of the Ale and Quail hunting club, Gerry loses all her luggage; after making do with clothing scrounged from other passengers, she is forced to accept Hackensacker's extravagant charity. Special guest and director Anna Biller joins us to discuss the life, loves, and legacy of actress Marlene Dietrich. I adore this movie. ( Log Out / also reopened on Wednesday. Sturges was about creating a tangled web of inanity, love quadrangles and the like, and keeping the audience wondering how it all would work out by the end. Colbert dashes out of the room – to a lovely flute motif suggesting the delicacy of her lace train as it trails over the prostrate maid – into the street, where she hails a cab in her bridal garb. I’ll admit, I wasn’t wild about McCrae until this film. The Palm Beach Story is a 1942 romantic screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges, and starringClaudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor and Rudy Vallée. And yet, it is Sturges’ dreams that leads to such hilarity, and it’s his characters who believe so heartily in their aspirations which keeps us engaged and rooting for their success. As the bridal couple kneel before the minister, the title sequence ends with one last superimposed text, in the form of an elaborate doily: “And they lived happily ever after… or did they…?” The film proper begins, but we’ll have to wait until literally the last minute to know what its mystery prologue really meant. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business. (0911) 688 35 0 Fax (0911) 672 20 47. The surprise is Mary Astor as Hackensacker’s amorous sister, the Princess Centimilla.  The film premiered in New York City on 2 November 1942 and went into general release on 7 November. , The second unit did background shooting at Penn Station in Manhattan. They leave the train and go on a shopping spree for everything from lingerie to jewelry – Hackensacker minutely noting the cost of everything in a little notebook, which he never bothers to add up – and make the remainder of the trip to Palm Beach on Hackensacker's yacht named The Erl King (a Sturges joke on the Hackensacker family business, oil). Tom finally persuades Gerry to give their marriage another chance, and they confess their masquerade to their disappointed suitors. Interested in purchasing today’s film? Palm Beach Post The Florida Department of Health reported only 120 new cases of coronavirus on Monday in Palm Beach County as area businesses prepared to move into … The final scene shows Hackensacker and Gerry's sister, and the Princess and Tom's brother, getting married. Is she even really Colbert? As soon as the Paramount logo fades, we are plunged right into the story: a lady’s maid, telephone in hand, jabbers at someone off-screen – then shrieks in panic and falls into a ludicrously dramatic faint at the sight of a looming shadow. The middle sequence, involving Colbert and a drunken group of old men on a train, seems particularly out-of-place despite leading towards the introduction to Hackensacker. Typical of a Sturges film, the pacing and dialogue of The Palm Beach Story are very fast. The script tries giving some type of explanation for the opening by the end, but you’re still left wondering about how it all worked out either way. Carole Lombard was originally meant to play opposite McCrea, but her untimely death gave Claudette Colbert the role. One thing's for sure, questions about the wedded state will be a major theme; in fact, the movie’s working title, nixed by the censors, was Is Marriage Necessary? And The Palm Beach Story certainly does, cementing its writer-director’s enduring reputation as the patron saint of screwball. McCrea also is playing twins and the sibling is likewise in love with the tied up sister. To help further his suit with Gerry, Hackensacker agrees to invest in Tom's scheme to build an airport suspended over a city by wires. There’s a reason she’ll marry anyone after all! Sturges was great at taking stars not well-regarded for the comedic genre (Veronica Lake, for example). All rights reserved. Joel McCrea, giving her a playful kiss here and there, has never been as romantic as he is in this, and it’s such a simple gesture that shouldn’t be as intense as it plays out. When the train conductor decides to uncouple and leave the group at the station, it’s not hard believing Sturges couldn’t find a way to end the plot and movie on. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. After back-to-back masterpieces Sullivan’s Travels and The Lady Eve, director and screenwriter Preston Sturges pulled off a comedy trifecta in 1942 with The Palm Beach Story. Typical for a Sturges movie, the pacing and dialogue of The Palm Beach Story are very fast. This has to be the best example of a movie being passionate without showing the actual passion. The zaniness works when you have a cast of comedic talents. The movie reveals much later that Colbert is playing identical twins, both of whom are in love with the intended groom played by Joel McCrea. The next shot clearly shows us the star – in a gown and veil that evoke her runaway bride in It Happened One Night – glancing back at that closet door and then freeze-framed as she dashes out of the room, the movie’s supporting cast superimposed over a cloud of tulle and orange blossoms. The Palm Beach Story’s title sequence is something very different: a fast-paced mystery prologue in pantomime, propelled by a breathless mash-up of the “William Tell Overture” and the “Wedding March”. Regardless of the opening, Sturges creates character first and plot second, although the two work lovely in unison. They say “if at first you don’t succeed…get a divorce and everything will work itself out.” Okay, that’s not totally the adage as we know it, but that’s the plan for Gerry Jeffers (Claudette Colbert) in Preston Sturges’ delightful tale of love, matrimony, and alimony, The Palm Beach Story. , The story Sturges came up with had the title Is Marriage Necessary?, and this, along with an alternative, Is That Bad?, became a working title for the film. By the time McCrea and then Colbert come rushing into the church, shedding a top hat and some flowers in their madcap dash into the camera, we are no clearer about the shadowy figure, the locked-up lady, and the look-alike Colberts than we were before. You, and the character, aren’t sure how you got there, but you’re having fun, regardless. ( Log Out / Given the classical theatre convention that comedies end in marriage, this could easily be the finale of a prequel to the film we’re about to see – a bride and groom racing separately to the altar in taxis, overcoming perils along the way, the breakneck action punctuated by freeze-frame shots.
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