Palm Beach Story: Directed by Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges: Classics from the Master of Screwball Comedy

Featuring Four Films Never Before Available on DVD For the first time ever, seven of the best films created by one of Hollywood’s first auteur directors are available together in Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection, coming to DVD on November 21, 2006 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Preston Sturges’ unique, witty and timeless comedies combine razor-sharp dialogue with laugh-out-loud slapstick to create fast-paced romps that remain as fresh and funny as the day they were first released. Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection captures the comic genius of a pioneering filmmaker with three of Sturges’ best known, most loved madcap comedies, along with four films never before available on DVD.

The films boast a pantheon of Hollywood legends including Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert, Barbara Stanwyck, Veronica Lake, Joel McCrea and Eddie Bracken as well as an ensemble of Hollywood’s best supporting players to create an unforgettable gallery of American rogues and heroes – often in the same character.   Sturges’ meteoric Hollywood career was fueled by an infinite talent for wordplay, an exuberantly irreverent sense of humor and remarkable insight into the human condition.  Romantic without being sentimental, satirical but sympathetic, unpredictable and always entertaining, Sturges’ films sparkle with droll one-liners and clever double entendres characteristic of the Academy Award winner’s unique filmmaking style.

Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection includes his directorial debut The Great McGinty, with which Sturges made Hollywood history by becoming the first writer to direct his own script and winning the first Academy Award given for Best Original Screenplay.
Also included are cinematic gems Sullivan’s Travels, The Palm Beach Story, The Lady Eve,  (all of which are on the American Film Institute> ‘> s list of Top 100 Comedies Of All Time), Christmas in July, The Great Moment and Hail the Conquering Hero. Perfectly timed for holiday gift giving, Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection will sustain the laughter through every season of the year.


The Great McGinty

A hilarious political satire, The Great McGinty offers an unforgettable Brian Donleavy as Dan McGinty, a Depression era hobo who sells his vote to a crooked politician – 37 times in the same election. Impressed by McGinty’s resourcefulness, the politico engineers his rise from poverty to power, where he unexpectedly discovers a conscience.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July cemented Sturges’ reputation as the master of screwball comedy with an exuberant romance about a naïve clerk who is tricked into thinking he’s won a $25,000 prize.  Dick Powell stars as the go-getting guy who takes his sweetheart on an extravagant Christmas shopping trip a few months early, only to see his spending spree turn slapstick when he learns it is all a practical joke.

The Lady Eve

Hollywood icons Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda team up for one of the frothiest, funniest romances to come out of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In a script bristling with rapid-fire dialogue and Sturges’ razor-edged wit, female card shark Eve (Stanwyck) attempts to take a shy millionaire (Fonda) for an expensive ride during a transatlantic crossing. A full house of famous character actors rounds out the crew of this naughty nautical love story, as Eve realizes that her mark may just be the man of her dreams.

Sullivan’s Travels

Universally acknowledged as Sturges> ‘>  masterpiece, Sullivan> ‘> s Travels is both a satire of the movie industry and an odyssey through America from the bottom up.  Joel McCrea stars as Sullivan, the successful director of frivolous Hollywood comedies who disguises himself as a bum to get a first hand look at the struggles of everyday citizens, and Veronica Lake as the small-time actress who falls in love with him. A poignant and funny cross-country journey teaches Sullivan that, in hard times, making people laugh may be the most meaningful thing one can do.

The Palm Beach Story

One of Sturges’ zany comedies, The Palm Beach Story takes an unhappy young wife (Claudette Colbert) on a train trip to Florida for quickie divorce from her failed inventor husband (Joel McCrea). When she falls in with a group of rambunctious millionaires, an adorably eccentric mogul (Rudy Vallee) takes a shine to her and won’t take no for an answer.

Her husband, who follows her to Palm Beach to win her back, catches the eye of the mogul’s man-crazy sister (Mary Astor) and the laughs come fast and furious with hilariously pointed one-liners and brilliant comic performances.

Great Moment

Sturges takes an unusual serious turn with the story of Dr. William Morton (Joel McCrea), who pioneered the use of ether in 1846.  He laces the tale of this unsung medical hero with characteristic humor and insight, as Morton forgoes personal gain to share the first known anesthesia with the rest of the medical community.

Hail the Conquering Hero

Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (Eddie Bracken) is anxious to serve his country when World War II begins, but his chronic hay fever leads to his humiliating early discharge.  Rather than return in disgrace, Woodrow enlists the aid of his military pals to impress his family and girlfriend (Ella Raines).  He returns home to find his grossly exaggerated exploits have made him a hometown hero in a cockeyed comic tale of patriotism and pride.