The Palm Beach Story is yet another satirical gem from director Preston Sturges, who gives the story a cynical edge sharper than in other screwball comedies. In 1942, even as the Great Depression was giving way to the war-time economy of World War II, poking fun at the idle rich continued to be a popular comic motif. The film's title is less meaningful to current audiences than it was to moviegoers of the 1940s, when train travel was the most frequent way that people got between cities, and the wealthy of the eastern seaboard rode trains each winter to the warm shores of Palm Beach, Florida. The performances in The Palm Beach Story are uniformly strong, with such non-comic actors as Joel McCrea and Mary Astor showing the diversity of their talents. Claudette Colbert gives one of the best performances of her career, though it is often overshadowed by her work in It Happened One Night.
by Richard Gilliam review