Palm Beach Story, The (1942)

The Palm Beach Story (1942), written and directed by Preston Sturges.

Not until the end is the surprise beginning revealed. A young couple -- Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea -- broke but still living in a plush New York apartment, have an odd marriage. They seem uncommitted but have considerable passion neither wants to admit. Maybe she should take off and find someone else... What?

Enter the Weenie King, long may he endure. A fairy godmother in the form of a deaf, scrawny Texan, who keeps a roll of large bills for just such emergencies.

Then it's off to Florida, sharing a train with the crazy, drunken Ale & Quail Club, sportsmen who shoot skeet indoors. Plenty of comical black porters in this segment, including Fred 'Snowflake' Toones.

Singer Rudy Vallee appears -- and is quite good -- as a diffident and slightly mental Rockefeller type who falls for the runaway wife. Mary Astor is his man-hungry sister.

It's a odd frantic screwball comedy, an unusual combination of the cynical and romantic.

Criterion Blu-ray.