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The Palm Beach Story Review


Extraordinary
Is marriage really so important? One could take that as being the surprisingly modern theme of Preston Sturges' manic, brilliant 1942 farce The Palm Beach Story, or one could simply take it as screwball comedy of the highest order. Fortunately both interpretations are completely valid.

One of the few truly great writer/directors of American film, Sturges had more ideas than he knew what to do with; witness the film's credits sequence showing the main characters (Joel McCrea and a wonderful Claudette Colbert) getting married. There's a race to the altar, mistaken identity, a woman in a bridal gown locked in a closet, and general fast-paced madcappery, all done with music only -- it's an abbreviated précis of what could have made an entirely separate film. Then it's largely forgotten: The whole story is only alluded to near the end of the film, with one character referencing it only to say, "Well, that's a whole other plot."

Continue reading: The Palm Beach Story Review

Unfaithfully Yours Review


Essential
Best suck down a cup of coffee -- or two -- before hitting play on the DVD for Unfaithfully Yours, one of Preston Sturges' best films, and perhaps his most undersung.

Rex Harrison was rarely the go-to guy for comedy, but he's put to incredible use in Unfaithfully as a British composer/conductor in America. His younger wife (Linda Darnell) and legion of fans are fawning, and he's obviously wealthy beyond his dreams, with servants galore. We spend the first half of the film getting to know Harrison's Sir Alfred in typical screwball fashion, but at the midpoint Alfred learns that wife Daphne may be having an affair with Alfred's secretary.

Continue reading: Unfaithfully Yours Review

The Palm Beach Story Review


Very Good
Preston Sturges makes screwball extreme in this crazy comedy about an architect (Joel McCrea) and his wife (Claudette Colbert). When McCrea can't sell any designs, Colbert leaves him for a millionaire, with the idea that she'll get him to fund Joel's work. Absurd (and never mind what it says about marriage), but lots of fun, particularly on Colbert's train ride to Palm Beach.
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