The Palm Beach Story (1942)

88 or 90 mins | Screwball comedy | 1942

Director:

Preston Sturges

Writer:

Preston Sturges

Cinematographer:

Victor Milner

Editor:

Stuart Gilmore

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegté

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Is Marriage Necessary and Is That Bad? . The following written inscription appears after the wedding sequences at the beginning and end of this film: "And they lived happily ever after/or did they?" The opening wedding montage, which seems to make little sense, is somewhat explained in the final wedding scene, but its significance has been debated at length in modern sources. The title Is Marriage Necessary? , which was the name of Preston Sturges' original story, was rejected by the PCA. According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, the PCA initially rejected the script for The Palm Beach Story because of the "sex suggestive situations...and dialogue." Despite repeated alterations made to the script in Nov 1941, the PCA continued to protest the "light treatment of marriage and divorce" in the story, and the similarity between the character "John D. Hackensacker III" and American industrialist John D. Rockefeller. The filmmakers complied with some of the concerns of the PCA by altering specific lines which seemed too suggestive and by reducing "Princess Maud's" unsuccessful marriages from eight to three, plus two annulments. Information in the Preston Sturges Collection at the UCLA Special Collections Library reveals that Ina Claire and Curt Bois were considered for roles in this film. Although Rudy Vallee had appeared in many previous films, "John D. Hackensacker III" is considered his first comedic role. According to modern sources, Paramount signed Vallee to a contract as a result of his performance in this film. The Palm Beach Story was Joel McCrea's second ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Is Marriage Necessary and Is That Bad? . The following written inscription appears after the wedding sequences at the beginning and end of this film: "And they lived happily ever after/or did they?" The opening wedding montage, which seems to make little sense, is somewhat explained in the final wedding scene, but its significance has been debated at length in modern sources. The title Is Marriage Necessary? , which was the name of Preston Sturges' original story, was rejected by the PCA. According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, the PCA initially rejected the script for The Palm Beach Story because of the "sex suggestive situations...and dialogue." Despite repeated alterations made to the script in Nov 1941, the PCA continued to protest the "light treatment of marriage and divorce" in the story, and the similarity between the character "John D. Hackensacker III" and American industrialist John D. Rockefeller. The filmmakers complied with some of the concerns of the PCA by altering specific lines which seemed too suggestive and by reducing "Princess Maud's" unsuccessful marriages from eight to three, plus two annulments. Information in the Preston Sturges Collection at the UCLA Special Collections Library reveals that Ina Claire and Curt Bois were considered for roles in this film. Although Rudy Vallee had appeared in many previous films, "John D. Hackensacker III" is considered his first comedic role. According to modern sources, Paramount signed Vallee to a contract as a result of his performance in this film. The Palm Beach Story was Joel McCrea's second picture for Sturges, although his first, Sullivan's Travels , was not released until shortly after this one. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Nov 1942.
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Nov 42
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Nov 42
p. 993.
New York Times
11 Dec 42
p. 33.
Variety
4 Nov 42
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Charles R. Moore
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Props
COSTUMES
Miss Colbert's gowns by
MUSIC
Mus score
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hair supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Prod asst
Prod secy
SOURCES
MUSIC
Overture to the opera William Tell by Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
"Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn.
SONGS
"Isn't It Romantic," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"You're the Flower of My Heart, Sweet Adeline," music by Harry Armstrong, lyrics by Richard H. Gerard
"Good Night, Sweetheart," music and lyrics by Ray Noble, James Campbell and Reginald Connelly, arranged by Walter Scharf
+
SONGS
"Isn't It Romantic," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"You're the Flower of My Heart, Sweet Adeline," music by Harry Armstrong, lyrics by Richard H. Gerard
"Good Night, Sweetheart," music and lyrics by Ray Noble, James Campbell and Reginald Connelly, arranged by Walter Scharf
"A-Hunting We Will Go," traditional, arranged by Phil Moore.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Is That Bad?
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 December 1942
Production Date:
24 November 1941--13 January 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 November 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11763
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88 or 90
Length(in feet):
8,356
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7983
SYNOPSIS

A bride and groom are inexplicably prevented from attending their wedding by their exact doubles, who then marry. Six years later, Tom and Gerry Jeffer's Park Avenue apartment manager shows their apartment to prospective tenants while they are still in residence because they are behind in rent. An elderly sausage manufacturer, known as the "Wienie King," who is looking at the apartment is so smitten by Gerry that he gives her $700 to pay all the bills. Gerry is tired of being broke and is doubly frustrated because Tom, a struggling architect, has continually rejected her attempts to use her beauty to get financial backers for his projects. Although she is still in love with Tom, Gerry so firmly believes that she has held her husband back that she leaves him, despite his earnest efforts to deter her. At Pennsylvania Station, Gerry uses her feminine wiles to get The Ale and Quail Club, a men's hunting club that has reserved an entire car, to buy her a ticket on the train headed for Palm Beach, Florida. The Club proves too rowdy, however, and after the men shoot out the windows she escapes into a sleeper car, where she accidentally breaks John D. Hackensacker III's spectacles while climbing into the upper berth. In the morning, Gerry discovers that the conductors have disconnected the Club's car because of their unruliness and have thereby left her without her suitcase. John, one of the wealthiest men in the world, takes an interest in Gerry and disembarks with her in Jacksonville, Florida. There the normally frugal multimillionaire takes pleasure in buying Gerry an entire wardrobe of extravagant clothes ... +


A bride and groom are inexplicably prevented from attending their wedding by their exact doubles, who then marry. Six years later, Tom and Gerry Jeffer's Park Avenue apartment manager shows their apartment to prospective tenants while they are still in residence because they are behind in rent. An elderly sausage manufacturer, known as the "Wienie King," who is looking at the apartment is so smitten by Gerry that he gives her $700 to pay all the bills. Gerry is tired of being broke and is doubly frustrated because Tom, a struggling architect, has continually rejected her attempts to use her beauty to get financial backers for his projects. Although she is still in love with Tom, Gerry so firmly believes that she has held her husband back that she leaves him, despite his earnest efforts to deter her. At Pennsylvania Station, Gerry uses her feminine wiles to get The Ale and Quail Club, a men's hunting club that has reserved an entire car, to buy her a ticket on the train headed for Palm Beach, Florida. The Club proves too rowdy, however, and after the men shoot out the windows she escapes into a sleeper car, where she accidentally breaks John D. Hackensacker III's spectacles while climbing into the upper berth. In the morning, Gerry discovers that the conductors have disconnected the Club's car because of their unruliness and have thereby left her without her suitcase. John, one of the wealthiest men in the world, takes an interest in Gerry and disembarks with her in Jacksonville, Florida. There the normally frugal multimillionaire takes pleasure in buying Gerry an entire wardrobe of extravagant clothes and a ruby bracelet. Gerry is thrilled when she discovers she has made the acquaintance of one of the richest men in the world, and accompanies him on his yacht to Palm Beach. When she sees Tom waiting at the dock for her, Gerry introduces him as her brother, "Captain McGloo." John's sister, the much-divorced Princess Maud Centimillia, who is ready to discard yet another suitor, Toto, immediately makes advances toward Tom. Gerry and Tom stay at the Hackensacker mansion, and while John woos Gerry, Maud woos Tom. Gerry, meanwhile, successfully interests John in becoming a financial backer of Tom's plans for a suspended airport. One evening, John, who has fallen in love with Gerry, serenades her underneath her balcony to the accompaniment of an orchestra, not realizing that he is providing the romantic background for Gerry and Tom to reunite. The next morning, Gerry gently rejects John's marriage proposal and reveals to a stunned John and Maud that she and Tom are not brother and sister, but are husband and wife. Always pragmatic, John vows to fulfill his commitment as a backer for Tom's project, and he and Maud are delighted when they learn that Tom and Gerry have twin siblings. A joint marriage soon takes place. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.