Cast & Crew
While skiing the California slopes, wealthy playboy Peter Kirk crashes at the feet of Dr. Helen Hunt after trying to impress her with his athletic prowess. After summoning a stretcher team to transport the injured Peter back to the hotel, Helen takes charge of his recovery. When Peter's attorney, Barrows, challenges her competence, however, she angrily resigns from the case and leaves the slopes for her practice in Los Angeles. Claiming that he is suffering a relapse, the smitten Peter sends the hotel clerk after her. Helen hurries back, but upon discovering that his relapse is a ruse, chides Peter for his irresponsibility. In reply, Peter declares he is in love with her and proclaims that they are destined to marry. Although Helen warns Peter that her career is more important than her domestic life, he proposes and they are married. After the wedding, the newlyweds take up residence at Peter's mansion. As the servants romanticize about their employers' wedding night, Helen is called away on an emergency, and by the time she returns home, Peter is sound asleep. When "Van" Vandemer, one of Helen's male patients, phones, Peter becomes jealous and implies his wife's male patients are more interested in her good looks than her medical abilities. After Helen leaves for work the next morning, her jealous husband follows her to her office. While peeking through a keyhole in the examining room door, Peter sees Helen examining a man stripped to the waist and bursts into the room. Recognizing Helen's patient as Robert Andrews, an old acquaintance, Peter accuses him of exhibitionism and the two men begin to argue. Later, Peter apologizes to Helen for his impulsiveness, and after she leaves for work the next morning, he heads for the golf course, where a gossipy golfer informs him that Vandemer is romantically interested in Helen. When Peter questions Helen about her relationship with Vandemer that night, she admits that she rejected his marriage proposal. Later that evening, the newlyweds encounter Vandemer at a nightclub, and after he monopolizes the conversation with Helen, Peter trips him on the dance floor. Before leaving for the office the next morning, Helen asks Billings, the gardener, to keep Peter occupied by interesting him in gardening. As Billings preaches about the wonders of nature, Peter, obsessed by the knowledge that his wife has a two o'clock appointment with Vandemer, stares at his watch. Eventually, however, Peter is calmed by Billings' chatter and overcomes his jealousy. When Helen returns home, Peter proclaims his victory over his jealous impulses, and then Helen calmly informs him that Vandemer phoned to cancel his appointment because he was too sick to leave the house and has asked her to pay a house call that evening. After Helen leaves for Vandemer's house, Moody, the butler, informs him that Vandemer is in perfect health, sending Peter scurrying after his wife. At Vandemer's house, Helen discovers she is the guest of honor at a surprise congratulations party, after which a robust Vandemer instructs his butler to telephone Peter and invite him to the party. He is too late, however, because Peter is lurking in the bushes and peering through the windows. Believing that he has been betrayed, Peter bursts into the house, slugs Vandemer, insults the guests and drags Helen out of the room. Furious, Helen chastises Peter for his lack of ambition. The next morning, Helen awakens to find that Peter has gone. Receiving a message to meet John Jenkins at the local department store, Helen goes there and discovers that Peter has assumed the alias Jenkins and is working as a tie salesman. Delighted by Peter's newly found self-reliance and enthusiasm, Helen decides to retire and become a housewife. The staff recognizes Peter, however, and complains that he is stealing a job from the needy. After the store manager reluctantly fires Peter to please his staff, Billings suggests that he use his wealth to create jobs. Acting on Billings' advice, Peter leaves home to find his "place in the world." One day, as Helen anxiously awaits his return, she receives a phone call from a hospital. Thinking that her husband is ill, Helen rushes there and discovers that Peter has bought the hospital, rescuing it from the verge of bankruptcy. When Peter declares that he intends to funnel his income into the hospital and plans to make Helen its chief of staff, Helen joyously embraces him.
You Belong to Me
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
You Belong to Me
Are there many lady doctors?- Peter Kirk
A few.- Helen Hunt
As beautiful as you?- Peter Kirk
No doubt.- Helen Hunt
The time I've wasted being well.- Peter Kirk
The working title of this film was The Doctor's Husband. According to pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter, director Wesley Ruggles unsuccesfully sought Norma Shearer, Helen Hayes, Katharine Cornell and Valerie Hobson to star in this picture. Madeleine Carroll, June Havoc, Virginia Greenwood, Claire Niesen and Australian comedianne Zaide Laselmo were also considered for roles in the film. According to a August 13, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item, additional scenes of Fritz Feld as the comic hotel clerk were shot after the completion of principal photography. You Belong to Me was Ruggles' last production for Columbia. On June 15, 1942, the Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a version of this story starring Merle Oberon. In 1950, Columbia produced another version of the film, titled Emergency Wedding.