IT HAD TO BE YOU has a couple of great things going for it: Ginger Rogers as the leading lady, plus a fabulous title song. Unfortunately, for the most part, the film is an annoying, dull mishmash.
Ginger plays Victoria, who -- in a series of amazing gowns by Jean Louis -- leaves a succession of suitors at the altar in scenes that are a forerunner of RUNAWAY BRIDE. While Victoria is on a train trip George, a man in an Indian costume (Cornel Wilde), appears in her sleeper car. Turns out George has been conjured up from her subconscious mind and come to life; the strange thing is everyone can see him, not just Victoria. George refuses to leave Victoria alone. Some of the scenes where she tries to get away from him and he's everywhere she turns, popping out of windows, are a little too realistically nightmarish to be enjoyable.
George is on a mission to help Victoria realize that she hasn't been able to marry anyone because she's in love with someone she met when she was six years old, Johnny, who is also played by Cornel Wilde. Confused?
The movie has some amusing moments here and there but the first two-thirds of the film in particular just drags on. Wilde is quite annoying in a one-note performance as the devilish, obnoxious George, but is more appealing as Johnny. Overall, however, he's too wooden to breathe much life into the movie. Ginger is absolutely gorgeous in this but plays Victoria with a breathy, childlike demeanor; I like Ginger in anything, but I think I prefer her when she's shooting off sarcastic one-liners.
The film comes to a sudden conclusion with no explanation for one character's change of heart; it was as if the filmmakers decided "Okay, we're done now!" I love romantic comedies and I also enjoy fantasies, but this particular one just didn't work very well for me.
The supporting cast includes Spring Byington, Thurston Hall, Ron Randell, and Percy Waram. It was directed by Don Hartman and Rudolph Mate; Mate was also one of the film's cinematographers. This black and white movie runs 98 minutes.
IT HAD TO BE YOU isn't out on DVD or video, but can be seen on TCM, where it next airs July 16, 2008.