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You Belong to Me (1941) marked the third and final screen pairing of Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, following The Mad Miss Manton (1938) and The Lady Eve (1941). In fact, it was the huge success of The Lady Eve that prompted Columbia Pictures to team them again so quickly - a scant three months after The Lady Eve opened in theaters, You Belong to Me started production. (In between the two films, Stanwyck made Meet John Doe , a Frank Capra classic, and Fonda made Wild Geese Calling , now an obscurity.) You Belong to Me didn't fare as well with the public or critics, but then few movies are as good as The Lady Eve. Nonetheless, the picture was more or less saved by the two stars' undeniable chemistry and appealing screen personas.
In a story written by Dalton Trumbo and adapted into a screenplay by Claude Binyon, Fonda is a rich playboy who falls for and marries Stanwyck, a doctor. She continues with her medicine practice, leading Fonda to develop jealousy of her many house calls to male patients. Critics stressed the performances. "Fonda proves again that he is endowed with a high flair for comedy," said Variety. "He is equally surefire in the romantic scenes." The New York Times declared, "The best thing about it is its principals. They are a right team for this sort of dalliance."
Producing and directing was the veteran Wesley Ruggles. Ruggles had directed scores of movies since 1917, including the first movie version of The Age of Innocence (1924), Cimarron (1931), for which he was Oscar®-nominated, No Man of Her Own (1932), I'm No Angel (1933) and The Gilded Lily (1935). He retired in 1946 and lived for another 25 years.
You Belong to Me was remade in 1950 as Emergency Wedding, starring Larry Parks and Barbara Hale.
Barbara Stanwyck later said of Henry Fonda, "He was delicious to work with. I was sorry when each of the three pictures we did was over. I wish we had done more movies together. I loved Hank."
Producer: Wesley Ruggles
Director: Wesley Ruggles
Screenplay: Claude Binyon, Dalton Trumbo
Cinematography: Joseph Walker
Film Editing: Viola Lawrence
Art Direction: Lionel Banks
Music: Frederick Hollander
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Dr. Helen Hunt), Henry Fonda (Peter Kirk), Edgar Buchanan (Billings), Roger Clark (Frederick Vandemer), Ruth Donnelly (Emma), Melville Cooper (Moody).
by Jeremy Arnold