GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING, THE (director: Richard Fleischer; screenwriters: Walter Reisch/Charles Brackett; cinematographer: Milton Krasner; editor: William Mace; music: Leigh Harline; cast: Joan Collins (Evelyn Nesbit), Ray Milland (Stanford White), Luther Adler (Delphin Delmas), Cornelia Otis Skinner (Mrs. Thaw), Glenda Farrell (Mrs. Nesbit), Frances Fuller (Mrs. Elizabeth White), Philip Reed (Robert Collier), Gale Robbins (Gwen Arden), John Hoyt (William Travers Jerome), Robert Simon (Stage Manager); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles Brackett; 20th Century Fox; 1955)
“It never caught my interest despite the juicy sensationalist story it promised to tell.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Richard Fleischer (“Fantastic Voyage”/”The Boston Strangler”/”Soylent Green”) helms this glossy, fictionalized account of the true story of the 1906 love triangle of pretty chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit (Joan Collins, at 22), prominent married New York society architect Stanford White (Ray Milland, at 50) and millionaire playboy bachelor Broadway angel from Pittsburgh Harry Kendall Thaw (Farley Granger). The affair resulted in the impulsive murder of White at the rooftop theatre of the Madison Square Garden by the unstable and extremely jealous Thaw, who after marrying Evelyn on the rebound when her much older lover dumps her still finds his pride hurt that she made love to his bitter enemy. The murder trial brought on the biggest scandal of the new century.
The film felt flat, the pace was too slow, the chatter was eternal, the sex was almost nonexistent (blame it on the Production Code) and the characters undeveloped. An even bigger problem was that Milland plays the part bland and there was little chemistry between the lovers. It never caught my interest despite the juicy sensationalist story it promised to tell.
The titular swing White has in his apartment is where he took Evelyn on their dates (the swing being used as a symbolic gesture for the sex, which wasn’t shown). The 65 year-old Nesbit served as a consultant on the movie and therefore did a nifty job of whitewashing her character in innocence and totally blaming the passionate men for everything. Also, curiously enough, the lurid details of the Nesbit-White ‘love nest’ presented at the murder trials are not presented here.
REVIEWED ON 7/29/2009 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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