Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Laraine Day and Jean Muir
AND ONE WAS BEAUTIFUL (1940). Director: Robert B. Sinclair.

"If ever I want to make anyone wretched, I'll call on you for advice."

Kate (Laraine Day of The Locket) is the shy, younger sister of Helen Lattimer (Jean Muir of Dr. Monica), who has strong feelings for "good catch" Ridley Crane (Robert Cummings).  When Kate goes to a party in place of Helen, she meets Ridley, who is charming to her, and becomes smitten with him as well. The sisters' feelings for Ridley and for each other become all entangled when Ridley gets drunk at a club, Helen briefly takes the wheel of his car, runs over and kills a man, and flees. She allows Ridley, who's already been in trouble for drunk driving, take the blame, but her sister suspects the truth ... And One Was Beautiful is a minor drama, but it holds the attention due to its interesting situation and some good acting, with Day and Muir in fine form. Billie Burke plays the mother and Esther Dale the dyspeptic maid in their usual professional style. Bob Cummings is perfectly okay for the lighter scenes, but less convincing when he has to get all dramatic. A curious aspect of the movie is that the family of the man who is killed seem much happier and better off after his death due to Ridley's giving them lots of cash (even without his being sued). With some good dialogue, this "B" movie is at times more knowing of human emotions than one might think. One assumes the title has to do with inner beauty because both sisters are physically attractive. Sinclair also directed Mr. and Mrs. North.

Verdict: Feuding sisters are always fun. ***.

No comments: