The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

1955

Biography / Crime

2
IMDb Rating 6.5

Synopsis


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2.08G
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109 min
P/S 49 / 38
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109 min
P/S 340 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MARIO GAUCI ([email protected]) 6/10

This is a glossy melodrama (scripted by Charles Brackett, who alsoproduced, and Walter Reisch) about a famous early 20th century crime ofpassion. The love triangle comprises Ray Milland (ideally cast but whoisn&rsquo;t particularly stretched by his role of architect Stanford White),Joan Collins (in one of her better Hollywood parts &ndash; by the way, thereal-life Evelyn Nesbitt acted in a few Silents herself and served as aconsultant on this film!) and Farley Granger. The latter is arevelation: usually playing self-effacing types, here he&rsquo;s arrogant,temperamental and possessive; he reminded me of Robert Ryan&rsquo;s equallyneurotic millionaire in Max Ophuls&rsquo; CAUGHT (1949). Besides, Granger&rsquo;sjealous probing into Collins&rsquo; past relations on their wedding nightbasically replicated a scene from Luis Bunuel&rsquo;s EL [1952]; and,likewise, his murder of the Milland character over Collins presents asimilar situation to a subplot in the Pre-Code BABY FACE [1933] &ndash;which, interestingly enough, I watched the very next day! <br><br>Fleischer handles the proceedings efficiently enough (he was certainlyadept at real-life crime stories, as his later dramatizations of thelives of other infamous murderers such as Leopold and Leob, Albert DeSalvo and John Christie &ndash; in COMPULSION [1959], THE BOSTON STRANGLER[1968] and 10 RILLINGTON PLACE [1970] respectively &ndash; can attest) but,here, he&rsquo;s somewhat bound by the commercially-minded formula approachof the studio system which, for instance, necessitated the inclusion ofcorny musical numbers&hellip;even if Collins&rsquo; character does start off as adancer in a variety act. Unfortunately, too, the courtroom scenesaren&rsquo;t the most compelling ever put on film &ndash; but they&rsquo;re nonethelesselevated by Luther Adler&rsquo;s presence as Granger&rsquo;s defense attorney.Another valued appearance is that of author Cornelia Otis Skinner: thiswas one of only 4 films she did (which include the classic ghost storyTHE UNINVITED [1944], also with Milland, and the existentialist dramaTHE SWIMMER [1968], starring Burt Lancaster); she has one interestingscene towards the end where Granger&rsquo;s mother recounts hisoverly-protected childhood to Collins, and which inevitably marked hischaracter forever. Collins&rsquo; mother, then, is nicely played by veterancharacter actress Glenda Farrell.<br><br>While THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING has been a regular on Italian TVover the years, I had first watched it as a kid; I decided to check thefilm out again now in view of Fox&rsquo;s upcoming SE DVD, as part of THEJOAN COLLINS COLLECTION. By the way, the final scene &ndash; with Collinsdoing the titular stage act for impresario Emile Meyer, who&rsquo;s eager toexploit her new-found notoriety &ndash; ends the film on a satisfyinglyironic note.

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Reviewed by blanche-2 7/10

Joan Collins is Evelyn Nesbit, the beautiful &#x22;Girl in the Red VelvetSwing&#x22; in this 1955 film also starring Ray Milland, Farley Granger,Cornelia Otis Skinner, Frances Fuller, and Glenda Farrell. The filmpurports to tell the story of the White-Nesbitt-Thaw triangle thatended with the murder of White, the arrest of Thaw, and the testimonyof Nesbit.<br><br>The facts are there, but as others have pointed out, the personalitiesare not. White (Milland) in fact was a notorious womanizer, and Evelynwas but another conquest. And while it may surprise people thatbeautiful, sexy &#x22;Dynasty&#x22; star Joan Collins could play demure andinnocent, Evelyn probably wasn&#x27;t. The unbalanced Thaw (Granger) wasalso a drug addict, not mentioned in the movie.<br><br>This film, which initially was to star Marilyn Monroe and later ShereeNorth, should have been much more exciting, given a) the story and b)the money spent on it. Unfortunately, the lack of character developmentholds it up. The White character remains elusive; Milland never loosensup. Granger does an excellent job as Thaw. Collins is absolutelybeautiful and does a good job with the character, but the character aswritten doesn&#x27;t give the film much of an edge.<br><br>The scene on the swing between Evelyn and White is dizzying anddazzling; and the end of the film is one of the best things about it.<br><br>Evelyn Nesbit overcame the trial, rejection by Thaw&#x27;s family, suicideattempts, alcoholism, and addiction to morphine, living until the ageof 82 in 1967. She served as an adviser on this film.

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Reviewed by Dalbert Pringle 4/10

Here&#x27;s my guess as to why this 1955 &#x22;Trial-of-the-Century&#x22; drama (whichhighlighted the real-life Thaw-White murder case from 1906) failed todeliver a substantial enough wallop and, thus, hold onto this viewer&#x27;srapt attention.<br><br>It was because the real-life Evelyn Nesbit (who, at a much younger age,had played a pivotal part in this murder case) was now playing&#x22;technical adviser&#x22; on the set of this 1955 picture. And, as a result,nothing in the story could be filmed without her prior consent.<br><br>And because of this veto power that Nesbit (72 at the time) wielded,her youthful character in the story was white-washed, and made out tobe the sweetest, most naive, little innocent bystander in the scheme ofthings.<br><br>And, on top of that, the sexual implications of Nesbit&#x27;s torrid affair,at 17, with a man 3 times her age was down-played so unrealistically asto make it appear as if she and Stanford White were merely platonicfriends.<br><br>As a result of all of this down-playing (at Nesbit&#x27;s insistence) thisfilm&#x27;s story was virtually rendered flat and uninspired, with onlyshallow and apathetic performances given by all of its principalplayers.<br><br>I honestly believe that this 1955 picture could&#x27;ve been real dynamitestory-telling had Evelyn Nesbit not had such a strangle-hold on itssubject matter, as she adamantly insisted that her once ravishing&#x22;Gibson Girl&#x22; image remain intact, thus making certain that she wasportrayed as the absolute epitome of &#x22;Turn of the Century&#x22; innocence.<br><br>Directed by Richard Fleischer (a fairly notable director), thisdisappointing melodrama suffered, as well, from a curious lack ofessential close-ups.

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