It Had to Be You (1947) - Plot Summary Poster


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The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Victoria Stafford (Ginger Rogers) is beautiful, fun, and from a very rich family. However, she cannot seem to get married, as she runs away at the last moment. In fact, she is engaged again as the movie begins, but a chance meeting with George McKesson (Cornell Wilde) on a train starts her second guessing herself. He is a model, dressed in an Indian costume, but they seem to hit it off well.

    With the train ride and her mystery encounter over, she can get back to normal with her fiancé, Oliver Harrington (Ron Randell). But, she sees George again, only to find out that it is not him, but Johnny Blaine (Cornell Wilde), a fireman. He is very casual with her, even though it is clear she thinks she knows him from somewhere.

    He invites her to a baseball game, which she readily agrees. She drives them to the game, and they sit in a section with all men. She turns lots of heads in the process. Johnny explains the game to her, figuring she knows nothing of baseball. During the game, she starts talking baseball like a pro. They even make a bet on a play, which she turns out to be right. Johnny pulls out his wallet and gives her the dollar bet.

    They go out to eat at his favorite place. They seem to have so much in common, which she readily points out. He plays it down, saying she gets "excited over the small things." On the way, they discuss their favorite Schnitzel meal. Victoria says they use veal, while Johnny is convinced they use lamb. They make another bet, which Johnny ends of losing, again. She refuses his dollar this time, but he insists, "I always pay my debts."

    Their relationship gets stronger as they have more and more "dates." Oliver is getting suspicious, as Victoria seems to always be "out." Johnny and Oliver meet by accident at Victoria's house. Johnny adds to Oliver's suspicions by talking about the train encounter that Victoria had with an "Indian." Oliver becomes obsessed and goes on a hunt to find the truth.

    Oliver spends all his time and resources to find the truth. He finally learns what happened, and decides to end their engagement to avoid a scandal. His father steps in, saying they need the money from Victoria's family for their political and business endeavors. Though Oliver does not want to, he agrees to go ahead.

    During this time, Johnny and Victoria have fallen in love and want to get married. Due to his firefighter's schedule, he needs to act immediately. He goes to meet Victoria's father, who mistakes Johnny for George. Once Johnny straightens him out, he receives his blessing for marrying Victoria. Before he can leave, Victoria's mother enters and confuses the situation further. She gets Johnny all worked up that he leaves angry, calling off the wedding.

    Victoria and Oliver agree to keep their original wedding date, so in two days, Victoria's family's home is packed with guests. As they walk down the aisle, she thinks she sees George McKesson in his Indian outfit. As she walks by, he picks up the phone and dials 0. "I would like to report a fire."

    Johnny Blaine's fire department gets the call and answers it. They arrive at the wedding just after Oliver says "I do" but before Victoria does. The firefighter's bust into the house with all the guests confused. Johnny in his full firefighter gear runs up to the altar. He hands his axe to Oliver and puts his helmet on him. He picks up Victoria and carries her out of the house like it was on fire.

    The movie ends with them on the back of the fire truck kissing. He raises his hand, like a formal Indian greeting and says, "how!" They kiss and she replies, "and how!"

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