And One Was Beautiful (1940)

And One Was Beautiful (1940)

This is a fairly engaging story about a rich playboy and his troubled life in part due to his own drinking. Beautiful Helen (Jean Muir) and “grease monkey” Kate (Laraine Day) are sisters that “love” the same man Robert Cummings (the playboy). Billie Burke plays their mother.

*** SPOILERS ***

When Kate subs for Helen at a party to keep up appearances Cummings falls for her only to be infatuated once again with Helen on the next social occasion. After that outing however Cummings gets drunk. Helen won’t ride with him so he follows her in his car. When he stops and passes out she drives and accidentally kills an old man on a bike. She freaks out and flees the scene on foot leaving him to take the rap for hit-and-run murder. Though Kate discovers her deception he is unbelievably compelled to plead guilty anyway and is sentenced to 5 years.

However Kate won’t let Helen forget her crime which drives Helen into an unwanted marriage with a “hanger on” who’s about to depart on a 6 month trip to escape. Cummings provides for the dead man’s family such that with Kate’s help they write the Governor requesting a pardon. When it is granted Helen is there to meet him when he’s released. Cummings tells her the truth about herself says his love is for Kate and the film ends with him proposing to Kate in the back of a vegetable truck!

There is some less than stellar acting which includes Laraine Day’s lips moving when she confronts Jean Muir’s character about evidence which implicates her in the accident that she had hidden. Arthur O’Connell appears uncredited.

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