In 1942 Gene Tierney and Henry Fonda, who had previously costarred in the Western THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES (1940), were reunited for the light comedy RINGS ON HER FINGERS.
In RINGS ON HER FINGERS Tierney is cast against type as Susie, a gum-snapping girdle salesgirl with a Brooklyn accent. Susie is taken under the wing of a pair of con artists (Spring Byington and Laird Cregar) and transformed into elegant Linda Worthington -- minus the gum and the accent. The trio cons John Wheeler (Henry Fonda) out of $15,000, but Linda falls head over heels in love with John and spends the rest of the movie figuring out how to return his $15,000 and live happily ever after.
It's a cute, well-made film. Fonda and Tierney have good chemistry and are an appealing couple. It's quite surprising seeing Tierney in her early scenes as the shopgirl, as it's a character unlike anything else I've seen her play. Byington and Cregar are always fun to watch, and the supporting cast also includes the marvelous character actor Henry Stephenson. Shepperd Strudwick (billed as John Shepperd) also appears.
The movie was directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who directed classics such as THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940) and BLOOD AND SAND (1941). It was shot in black and white and runs 86 minutes.
In GENE TIERNEY: A BIOGRAPHY Tierney's husband at the time the film was made, Oleg Cassini, shares an interesting anecdote. He had accompanied his bride of a few months to a location shoot for RINGS ON HER FINGERS on Catalina Island. While they were there, it was announced that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Since it was uncertain whether an island off the California coast would be safe, the crew had to pack up immediately and sail back to the mainland. The scene early in the film where Tierney meets Fonda is set on Catalina.
RINGS ON HER FINGERS can be seen on cable on Fox Movie Channel. It's not available on VHS or DVD. Click here to indicate interest in a DVD release at Amazon.
2012 Update: RINGS ON HER FINGERS is now available on DVD-R via the Fox Cinema Archives.