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directed by Preston Sturges
USA 1942


  Preston Sturges, son of a wealthy American family, served in the Air Force in World War I and invented a kissproof lipstick before turning to writing comedy during the 1930's. (What else might one do after inventing a kissproof lipstick?) Sophisticated satire was his specialty and he found his greatest success when he started directing his own scripts during the early 1940s. (Readers of CV may have noticed the oft repeated thesis that a disproportionate number of the most successful films result when the writer and the director are the same party.)

In this prime period, Sturges turned out a series of fast talking, fast moving, slapstick laced movies starting with The Great McGinty, which, according to our favorite critic, Anthony Lane, was the first time in the history of talking movies that a writer directed his own material. "Sturges talk," says Lane, "is (a) bewildering balance: on the one hand, a chin-up, all-American assumption that dreams are right there within reach, like apples; on the other, a slightly alien cynicism toward such rosiness, and a heavy hint that the fruit, once tasted, may prove not to have been worth the plucking."
In The Palm Beach Story we meet Claudette Colbert, the charming, if spoiled, wife of struggling architect, handsome Joel McCrea. Never for a minute do we believe they don't love one another, but Colbert decides to divorce McCrea and use her charms to access greater financial resources. She heads for Palm Beach, at the suggestion of a taxi driver, and proceeds to have a series of adventures which explore hilariously the ways that even a hint of sex can be turned into real assets.

There is a famous scene on the train heading south where a group of wealthy hunters, The Ale and Quail Club, get thoroughly soused, shoot up the train, and go rampaging through the Pullmans with their bird dogs. CV admits to finding this sequence a tad too broad and, as well, to finding the racist jokes to be more discomforting than funny. One line from Valee: "They always get the best of you." Times and sensibilities change.

Excerpt from CultureVulture's review located HERE


Theatrical Release: November 2nd, 1942

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DVD Review: Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal Video - Region 1- NTSC
Runtime 1:27:51
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English (Hearing Impaired), Spanish, French, None

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 18



Good image with lots of film grain. A few signs of damage, but it is masked pretty well. Audio is a little weak, and no extras ( as in absolutely none!) Decent contrast, but I still wish Universal could get onboard with supplying some extras - at least a trailer or some liner notes! It is hard to argue with the price ($11 US at Amazon)... a fun night at the tube!  out of   

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Universal Video - Region 1- NTSC


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