Friday, November 28, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Rings On Her Fingers (1942)

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.


Blogger Moira Finnie said...

Your fine review made me realize how often I liked Gene Tierney best in her working girl parts.

It did seem odd to see the usually patrician Gene Tierney playing a "pink collar" employee and later a con artist, but it occurs to me that I've liked those roles where she tried to break away from being a divinely languid creature to being one that made a contribution to the world. She was actually more fun for me to watch in the segments of Laura dealing with her attempts to rise in the advertising world than she was as the beloved object of adoration she often played. A few other sort of working girl parts that she seemed to enjoy playing came in The Return of Frank James in which (again, opposite Fonda), she played a fledging reporter in the Old West, and as an unrepentent Reb in Belle Starr (a distinctly aggressive role for her with echoes of Scarlett O'Hara), and, of course, the very independent minded Mrs. Muir in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir who became a writer, thanks of course, to a literal (and literate) Ghost (Rex Harrison).

Rings on Her Fingers (1942) shows up on HBO occasionally as well as FMC, Laura. I love anything with Laird Cregar and Spring Byington too.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

Too bad it's not on VHS or DVD. Our family used to take the "big white steamer" over to vacation in Catalina almost every Summer in the 50's when I was growing up.

I couldn't figure out how or where to vote on the Amazon link so I went to the TCM site and voted there instead.

I have three movies waiting for me to pick up at the library which I plan to do today. "I Know Where I'm Going", "East Side, West Side" and "The Amazing Mrs. Holliday". Unfortunately they've all come in at the same time and this is my busiest week for rehearsals with performances beginning next weekend!!!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I enjoyed your thoughts on Gene Tierney, Moira. She is one of my favorites. I taped BELLE STARR a few months ago and hope to see it before too much longer -- I also love the leading men (Scott & Andrews) in that one. It's been many years since I watched THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES so I should check that out before too much longer as well.

THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR is a wonderful film -- perhaps my favorite of Tierney's performances.

I didn't realize HBO shows old movies! (Don't subscribe.) Thanks for sharing that info.

Best wishes,

8:28 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

What wonderful Catalina memories, Irene! I've never been over there. My older son attended a marine science camp there a few years ago which he loved.

At Amazon if you click "Notify me when it's available," that's considered a "vote" along the same lines as at TCM; they say that periodically they share their tallies with the studios and it might possibly influence the release of future DVDs. Fox does a wonderful job with the quality of their DVDs but I sure wish they released titles more quickly than they do -- there are *so* many wonderful movies made by Fox which I'd love to see have a DVD release.

Good luck with your rehearsals and performances! It's a fairly compressed holiday season this year with Thanksgiving being relatively "late." Hope you are able to relax and enjoy some good movies in between all your activities.

Best wishes,

8:31 AM  

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