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The Palm Beach Story

The Palm Beach Story(1942)

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The working titles of this film were Is Marriage Necessary and Is That Bad?. The following written inscription appears after the wedding sequences at the beginning and end of this film: "And they lived happily ever after/or did they?" The opening wedding montage, which seems to make little sense, is somewhat explained in the final wedding scene, but its significance has been debated at length in modern sources. The title Is Marriage Necessary?, which was the name of Preston Sturges' original story, was rejected by the PCA. According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, the PCA initially rejected the script for The Palm Beach Story because of the "sex suggestive situations...and dialogue." Despite repeated alterations made to the script in November 1941, the PCA continued to protest the "light treatment of marriage and divorce" in the story, and the similarity between the character "John D. Hackensacker III" and American industrialist John D. Rockefeller. The filmmakers complied with some of the concerns of the PCA by altering specific lines which seemed too suggestive and by reducing "Princess Maud's" unsuccessful marriages from eight to three, plus two annulments. Information in the Preston Sturges Collection at the UCLA Special Collections Library reveals that Ina Claire and Curt Bois were considered for roles in this film. Although Rudy Vallee had appeared in many previous films, "John D. Hackensacker III" is considered his first comedic role. According to modern sources, Paramount signed Vallee to a contract as a result of his performance in this film. The Palm Beach Story was Joel McCrea's second picture for Sturges, although his first, Sullivan's Travels, was not released until shortly after this one.