This Preston Sturgis screwball comedy is a treasure, despite its flaws. Since Claudette Colbert(C.C.)was the lead female in both this film and the acclaimed prior screwball comedy "It Happened One Night", a few comparisons wouldn't hurt. Here, she's a penniless, but beautiful, wife, running away from a penniless husband(Tom) obsessed with a seemingly crazy idea of building airports over cities. She hopes to bag a millionaire in Palm Beach, who hopefully will finance Tom's wild dream. In the former film, she's from a wealthy family, newly married, but running away from her father, who 'imprisoned' her, not liking her choice of husband. She's virtually penniless in her current state. Thus, in both films, she is dependent on male strangers to get where she wants to be. In Clark Gable's case, he's nearly as poor as she is. In the present film, C.C. lucks out several times in begging for a free trip to the next destination, as well as securing help from two filthy rich millionaires, one at each end of her trip. At movie's end, C.C. has the choice of marrying a rich, but plain looking and stuffy man, or a poor, but handsome and personable, man. In both cases, she's the romantic, choosing the poor man. Despite the classic scenes of comedy in "It Happened one Night", to me, the present film is more amusing, overall, although, like the former film, the last part drags compared to the rest of the film.
My favorite comedic scenes in the present film include 1) the wild antics of the 'Ale and Quail Club', on the train. 2)Robert Dudley, as a hard of hearing old millionaire, conversing with C.C. or Tom(Joel McCrea). 3) C.C. and Tom fighting over her suitcase on the street. 4)C.C. trying to get into the upper berth in the train, without a ladder. 5)The ending
Preston Surges' acclaimed film of the previous year: "Sullivan's Travels" was full of ironies. Are there any notable examples here?
A)C.C. went to Palm Springs to get a divorce from Tom. But, after they were courted by others, they decided to remarry.
B)C.C. had a choice between a nerdy-looking multimillionaire who showered her with gifts, and a good looking, but penniless man she spent 5 years with. She chose the latter. Apparently, looks and personality was more important than money. This is borne out by the eagerness with which Hackensacker and his sister embraced the idea of marrying their identical twins, since they wanted to remarry each other.
C)One of the world's richest men is traveling incognito in a second class train birthe, so why C.C. meets him. The Weinie King, another multimillionaire, wants to move into the modest apartment where C.C. and Tom are about to be thrown out for non-payment of rent. Again, they were helped by a rich man who shouldn't have been where he was.
D)The 2 millionaires help both C.C. and Tom without expecting anything in return, in contrast to the general perception that such men are pinch pennies. Tom gets money for a train ticket to Palm Springs, and a promise to fund his 'airport in the sky'. C.C. gets to pay her bills, and a load of free gifts, each millionaire helping both in different ways.
SOME COMMENTS ON SPECIFICS:
1)Jim's revolutionary idea of an airport built on top of a city or part of it, was proposed in 1931, by Charles Glower, in relation to London, using new reinforced buildings to support it. With today's super carriers, this would be even more impractical.
2)Rudy Valley's assumed name: J.D. Hackensacker III, presumably is derived from J.D. Rockefeller III, both owning big oil companies.
3)How did Tom know where to go in Palm Beach to find C.C., on Hackensacker's yacht?
4)Why did C.C ask for her suitcase on the train, when she didn't arrive at the station with one, and, in fact, it was left on the street after it opened and the contents spilled on the street?
5) The prologue isn't very intelligible unless you assume(correctly) that there are 2 C.C.s and 2 Joel McCreas.
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The Palm Beach Story
Action / Comedy / Romance
The Palm Beach Story
Action / Comedy / Romance
Gerry and Tom Jeffers are finding married life hard. Tom is an inventor/ architect and there is little money for them to live on. They are about to be thrown out of their apartment when Gerry meets rich businessman being shown around as a prospective tenant. He gives Gerry $700 to start life afresh but Tom refuses to believe her story and they quarrel. Gerry decides the marriage is over and heads to Palm Beach for a quick divorce but Tom has plans to stop her.
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January 13, 2015 at 12:02 PM