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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 <email@example.com>
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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"Rings on Her Fingers" is a thoroughly charming picture that takes a kaleidoscope of elements from films of the era -- the shop-girl Cinderella, bathing suit poses on the beach, the rich man's yacht, the poolside party, mistaken identity, love on the breadline, evasion in a crowded terminus, the casino, the gangster -- and mixes them all up in a hectic, hilarious, but instinctively good-natured plot. As a romance, it's very funny without ever needing to resort to the anarchic destruction of many 'screwball' affairs; as a comedy, it laughs at its characters with loving affection rather than glee and discomfiture.
In the best of farces, absurd events unfold with a seemingly inevitable logic. It must be admitted that in this picture, the plot occasionally skates past short-term expedients that just have to be taken for granted -- but the ensuing situations are milked to such good effect that it's easy to turn a blind eye. The film is rich in set-pieces both verbal and visual, with a host of lively minor characters to accompany the note-perfect performances of the principals.
Laird Cregar excels as usual in the role of the resonant, urbane Warren (performing with impressive agility in his swimming-pool scene), while Spring Byington is here the best I have seen her, the actress submerging her trademark mannerisms in an actual character. Gene Tierney is sweet, smart, funny and distinctly shapely as the girl who pulls off the perfect con and then learns what she has really done. Henry Fonda -- for my money, both more credible and more sympathetic here than in "The Lady Eve" -- plays a mathematical dreamer with a passion for sailing and the sea, while some eye-catching yachts of the era star in the background, apparently shot on location!
The film starts off light and gradually gains in intensity and emotional weight as it goes along, with frequent upwellings of laughter to season some very genuine feeling. The two lovers are charming together, from a very Freudian first scene (in which the camera settles on Linda's trim contours as a somewhat dislocated John tries to describe the lines of his yacht) to the final escape, Perhaps the highlight is the taxicab sequence in which our hero, intoxicated with excitement, is convinced he has devised a 'system' to beat the roulette wheel, while Linda and the audience, in on the secret, find him both hilarious and adorable at the same time.
Like all good comedies, "Rings on Her Fingers" laughs at our human frailties, but it does so with a gentle touch. It shares with "Some Like It Hot" an essential innocence and sweetness at the root of its effervescent humour, and scarcely sets a foot wrong in the process. I enjoyed this little-known, little-rated picture very much indeed.
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