You Belong to Me (1941) Wesley Ruggles

    From a quality point of view, it is hard to believe that “You Belong to Me” was made the same year as “The Lady Eve.” However, it was the success of “The Lady Eve” that encouraged Columbia to reteam the two stars again so quickly in this film They should have left good enough alone. This was the third and final time Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck starred together. It was also their weakest effort. Their first film was “The Mad Miss Manton” made back in 1938.

    In “You Belong to Me,” Fonda plays ambitionless millionaire playboy Peter Kirk who is smitten, at a ski resort, by the likes of Dr. Helen Hunt (Stanwyck). Kirk is what used to be called the idle rich, those who never worked a day in their life and have no need or purpose to do so. Kirk is also insanely jealous of any contact his doctor wife has with men, going to absurd lengths to “catch” her with male patients in compromising positions. Each time this happens, it is more embarrassing for Kirk as he is constantly proven wrong. That is pretty much the whole film until the somewhat “surprise” ending.

    Fonda’s character is weak, childish, and insecure while Stanwyck’s is strong and intelligent. You can never understand what it is she sees in him, other than money, which it is never hinted at that she has ever given it a second thought. Overall, the film is pretty much a total wreck, at best more cute than funny. The most redeeming value of this romantic comedy is the combination and the chance again to see Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda together one more time.  

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