Rings on Her Fingers (1942): Mamoulian’s Screwball Comedy, Starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney

Rouben Mamoulian direted Rings on Her Fingers, a screwball comedy starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney.

The screenplay concerns a poor man who gets mistaken for a millionaire and is swindled out of his life savings.

Susan Miller (Gene Tierney) works as salesgirl in a big department store, dreaming of living on “the other side,” among the rich. An elderly woman, Mrs. Maybelle Worthington (Spring Byington), comes to buy some underwear, but she is actually a professional swindler. Her partner Warren (Laird Cregar) meets her at the department store, and reports that her “daughter” (a partner in their schemes) has run away to get married.

Noticing that Susan resembles the “daughter,”they ask her to impersonate the missing girl at their party.  For her part, Susan sees an opportunity to experience life among the rich, and wear expensive clothes she could never afford.

Susan becomes “Linda Worthington” and accompanies “Mother Worthington” and “Uncle Warren” in their travels. They use her to attract young rich men, whom they swindle.

In Southern California, they encounter John Wheeler (Henry Fonda), and overhear his plan to buy a yacht for $15,000. They take him for a millionaire, and use “Linda” to lure him into their swindle. But John is actually an accountant, who has saved the $15,000 out of his limited income.  Susan/Linda then falls in love with the intended victim.

Henry Fonda as John Wheeler
Gene Tierney as Susan Miller-“Linda Worthington”
Laird Cregar as Warren
Spring Byington as Mrs. Maybelle Worthington
Shepperd Strudwick as Tod Fenwick
Frank Orth as Kellogg
Henry Stephenson as Colonel Prentiss