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Susan Miller works behind the girdle counter in a department store and dreams about the beautiful clothes and glamour she can never hope to have. Enter May Worthington and Warren, a pair of con artists who pose as the mother and uncle of a pretty girl in order to separate millionaires from their money. They convince Susan she has an opportunity to fulfill all her dreams, and the trio heads for Palm Beach. Susan meets John Wheeler who says he is shopping for a sailboat. Believing that he is a millionaire, Warren and May sell him a boat that doesn't belong to them, and make off with his $15,000 life savings. Looking for greener pastures, they work themselves into the family of wealthy Tod Fenwick, who falls for Sue, posing as "Linda Worthington". But John shows up as a guest of Fenwick and he tells "Linda", not knowing she was part of the scam, that he has a detective after the fake captain that sold him the boat. John admits that he is not a millionaire but only a $65-a-week clerk. He ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Say, are you really millionaires?
[Warren and Maybelle burst into laughter]
Well, there seems to be something missing.
Mrs. Maybelle Worthington:
Just the millions, and they can't rule you out for a technicality.
You see, nature played a little trick on us: we should have been born with blue blood, so we have devoted our entire life to correcting this... biological error.
What do you do? If you're not, what are you?
Mrs. Maybelle Worthington:
Well, we're sort of an excess profits tax. To criticize us would be unamerican.
We are merely bees ...
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According to the Citadel Film series book The Films Of Henry Fonda, Rings On Her Fingers was the third of a three picture deal that Rouben Mamoulian had with 20th Century Fox. The other two films done in this package were the Tyrone Power classics, The Mark Of Zorro and Blood And Sand. Would that this film were light years as good as those two were.
Not that it's bad, but it's strictly second rate Mamoulian and definitely second rate Fonda. This was the period in Fonda's career where he had signed a studio contract to get the role in The Grapes Of Wrath and Darryl Zanuck would be forcing him into things that were second rate. This part that Fonda has here was a ripoff of what he did on loan to Paramount for The Lady Eve.
Fonda is once again the naive pigeon of some con artists played by Spring Byington and Laird Cregar. They're using Gene Tierney who is lured by the chance of easy money into their nest as the come on in a confidence game. The three rook Fonda out of his life savings, selling him a sailboat they don't own. They think Fonda has millions to spare, but unlike in The Lady Eve, Fonda is a clerk on holiday.
But he doesn't know Tierney was part of the gag and the two fall for each other. That however interferes with Cregar and Byington's plans to marry Tierney off to a real millionaire, Sheppard Strudwick.
Rings On Her Fingers is not a bad film, but Fonda who was doing mostly classic roles in The Male Animal and The Lady Eve on loan, back at his home studio was given parts that Zanuck's favorites Tyrone Power and Don Ameche passed on. Fonda hated those years at Fox, hated them more because he wanted to go in the service and Zanuck pulled all kinds of strings to keep him home.
Fonda played naive characters since his debut in The Farmer Takes A Wife and throughout his career before his war service tried desperately to avoid the typecasting. After Mister Roberts no one thought to cast him that way again, but in his early years it was a struggle to avoid it.
Best scenes in Rings On Her Fingers involve Fonda and Tierney at a gambling casino run by Henry Stephenson where things are fixed for him to win. Of course Fonda thinks he's found a mathematical formula and his recklessness increases.
Laird Cregar is good in a most undefined role as a con man. What a loss he was at such a young age.
Rings On Her Fingers belongs in the lower tier of Henry Fonda films though it does have its moments.
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