Hilda Bensinger

Edward Wragge, portraying Walter Averill, eyes his small-town girlfriend Georgette McKee (Andrea King), portraying Hilda Bensinger in "The Ramparts We Watch," RKO, 1940.

Edward Wragge, portraying Walter Averill, eyes his small-town girlfriend Georgette McKee (Andrea King), portraying Hilda Bensinger in “The Ramparts We Watch,” RKO, 1940.

Georgette McKee (Andrea King) was just 20 years old when she appeared as Hilda Bensinger in The March of Time‘s first feature-length film “The Ramparts We Watch” (RKO, 1940). It was her screen debut.

This unusual docu-drama was designed as an ensemble piece … a tapestry of vignettes. And in it Georgette plays a typical all-American girl, a first-generation U.S. citizen of German immigrant parents. The year is 1914, and Hilda is happily enjoying a simple, peaceful life in New London, Connecticut … that is, until the Great War breaks out in Europe.

Her father soon struggles with his loyalties, desperately trying to remain politically neutral between his old and new countries. As the tension rises, the Bensinger family finds themselves treated as outcasts in their own small-town community. Hilda and her mother see this firsthand when their volunteer assistance is abruptly refused by a group of women gathered together to make bandages for the war effort.

In a later dramatic reenactment, Hilda bids farewell to her childhood sweetheart at the train station as he is taken off to war … sadly never to return again.