THE PALM BEACH STORY—fifth of seven hits in a row for director-writer Preston Sturges, this one bringing sorely needed laughs to a bleak 1942. “You will care for me, though. I grow on people. Like moss.”
Frustrated inventor Joel McCrea needs money to bankroll his Big Idea, an airport suspended by wire over a city. Understandably taxed but loving wife Claudette Colbert takes a drastic step. She’ll divorce him and marry a millionaire to get the dough for the project. What could go wrong?
“Cold are the hands of time that creep along relentlessly, destroying slowly but without pity that which yesterday was young. Alone our memories resist this disintegration and grow more lovely with the passing years. Heh! That’s hard to say with false teeth!”
En route to Florida and wealth she must deal with the strange little man known as the Wienie King (Robert Dudley), the boozed-up and certifiably wacko Ale and Quail Hunting Club and then a madcap shopping spree courtesy of rich eccentric Rudy Vallee (as ‘John D. Hackensacker III’). McCrea follows and gets ensnared by ‘Princess Centimillia’ (Mary Astor), who is also daffy. Everyone is daffy, and there is a great deal of fun throughout, with Vallee’s priceless line-readings a special delight.
One of Sturges best, running a breathless 88 minutes, with Sig Arno, Robert Warwick, Torben Meyer, William Demarest, Roscoe Ates, Chester Conklin, Frank Faylen.