101 Funniest Screenplays

The idea for this screwball comedy, Preston Sturges says in his autobiography, “was conceived as an illustration of my theory of the aristocracy of beauty, or, as Claudette Colbert expressed it to Joel McCrae, ‘You have no idea what a long-legged gal can do without doing anything…’” The plot, at once cynical about love and playful in execution, involves a married couple on the rocks over money issues. The ending is a crazy shocker: a quadruple wedding featuring Gerry (Colbert), Tom (McCrae), their respective twins and a brother-sister pair of millionaires. The New Yorker magazine’s Pauline Kael called this Sturges film “one of the giddiest and most chaotic” of his “satiric orgies,” and when Newsweek asked writer-director Gus Van Sant to list his “Five Most Important Movies,” he ranked The Palm Beach Story fourth. “It’s wild, and the epitome of Preston Sturges,” Van Sant said.