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Robert D. Webb
The brunette, beautiful Joan Bennett is the main attraction in "The Housekeeper's Daughter," a 1939 Hal Roach movie. With her similarly-shaped face, hair-do, and hairline, the dark-haired Joan is reminiscent of Hedy Lamar, whereas, as a blonde, she resembled her sister Constance. In my opinion, Bennett was the most beautiful actress who auditioned for Scarlett in Gone with the Wind and didn't get it.
Bennett plays Hilda, a gun moll who gets sick of the life and goes home to mother. Her mother, Olga (Peggy Wood) is the housekeeper and lives in the home of a wealthy man, Robert Randall (John Hubbard) who has aspirations to be a reporter. When two reporters (Adolphe Menjou and William Gargan) see Randall throwing around money, they stick to him like glue and wind up sleeping at his home and meeting mother and daughter. Randall, meanwhile, is hot on a murder case, which will eventually combine Hilda's past and present.
This is a pleasant enough, well acted film in the beginning but deteriorates into a lot of slapstick later on. Victor Mature has an early role, and Donald Meek is the harried newspaper editor.
As a side note about William Gargan, he had a laryngectomy in 1960 and spoke thereafter with the use of an artificial voice box. He spent the remaining 19 years of his life involved with the American Cancer Society and warning about the hazards of smoking.
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