The Palm Beach Story (1942)
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"I grow on people......like moss...."
Well that was probably one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.
Usually romcoms END with a madcap rush to the wedding chapel. The Palm Beach Story STARTS there then jumps ahead a few years to the make-or-break portion of the marriage. The superlative Claudette Colbert decides she has to leave her husband (Joel McCrea), whose ego is easily bruised, because she's a drain on his finances and the reason they can't make ends meet. She sets off on a journey, he'll try to follow, and hopefully they'll fall back in love by the end. Part of the absurdity is that every millionaire she meets wants to give her money (and there are a lot of them), like it's her superpower, and the first act is a bit haphazard in terms of plot before we get to the heart of it. The two leads are really the only two normal people in the piece. They're surrounded by comedy characters, some of which you'll find funny, others not (I think the movie is entirely too convinced Toto the Lothario from a vague country is hilarious, but he's not), and the quick 40s comedy patter is off the charts. Harmless fun, and that ridiculous ending had me slapping my knee until it bruised, with a loud "sure, why not!".
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In 13 official lists
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This movie ranks #75 in BBC's The 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
This movie ranks #77 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs
This movie ranks #153 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #155 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #216 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #268 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #299 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #388 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #601 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #646 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #692 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #784 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #883 in The Criterion Collection