Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing|
Actors: Joan Collins, Ray Milland
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Tcfhe Release Date: 07/10/2007 Run time: 75 minutes Rating: Nr
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A showcase role for the young (really young) Joan Collins as
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like a lot of people I first learned the story of Evelyn Nesbit from the movie version of "Ragtime," because I did not read "Ragtime" the novel. However, when it comes to calling Nesbitt "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing," that is something that I associate with "Ragtime - The Musical." A century later we look back at Nesbit as having been at the heart of what is clearly the first "trial of the century," and can trace a clear line from it through the Scopes Trial, the Lindbergh baby case, the O.J. Simpson trial and a host of others. Nesbit was married to Harry K. Thaw, a rich playboy who had become infamous for such antics as riding a horse up the steps of an exclusive New York club. But Thaw was obsessed by the fact that Evelyn had once had an affair with Stanford White, the most prominent architect in the country. On June 25, 1906, convinced that White was still after Evelyn, Thaw shot White dead in the roof-garden theater at Madison Square Garden. This was the most notorious murder case of that ear with the public eagerly following it in both the "yellow" press and the more reputable newspapers. Nesbit was considered the most beautiful woman in America during the trial and ironically it was a photograph of her that served as the inspiration for Lucy Maud Montgomery's description of her famous literary creation, Anne of Green Gables.
Nesbit herself served as a consultant on the 1955 film, "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing," which is probably of more interest today because Nesbit is played by a young Joan Collins. Ray Milland plays Stanford White while Farley Granger plays Harry K. Thaw, and even though she is turning in an extremely restrained and subtle performance Collins stands out because the two male leads are even more constrained, whether by the class considerations of their characters or the limitations of their acting ability is debatable. You understand what White and Thaw see in Evelyn, but beyond their money there is not much to recommend either of them to the young girl and when she allows herself to be seduced by White you cannot help but think that it is happening because historically it is true and because the script says it does. Milland is rather bland, but at least Granger does a good job of convincing us that his character is dangerously deranged, regardless of what any court of law might rule at this trial.
The production values of director Richard Fleischer's film are what make it easier to round up on this one in the end what with the art direction, set decoration, and costumes are taking advantage of the upper crust circles in which the characters lived. I also think the glitz allows the film to get away with more direct allusions to sex than you usually see in films from this period (tastefully done off camera, of course). Still, watching this movie is a bit strange because not only is it a quarter-century before "Dynasty" makes Joan Collins a household name, but it is also a decade before her memorable appearing in "The City on the Edge of Forever" on the original "Star Trek." If you did not know this was Joan Collins I do not know if you guess just by looking at her. However, in the end this film fails to provoke a significant response, either emotionally or intellectually, to the sight of Evelyn in the red velvet swing
In 1907 Nesbit had appeared as herself in a dramatization of the shooting entitled "The Unwritten Law: A Thrilling Drama Based on the Thaw-White Tragedy," and made several silent films between 1914 and 1922. Decades later Collins had come to the attention of Hollywood in the 1955 Howard Hawks film "Land of the Pharaohs," and instead of making B-movies in England she was signed by Fox to be their studio's answer to Elizabeth Taylor. After "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing" she would star in "Sea Wife" (1957) opposite Richard Burton, "Stopover Tokyo" (1957) starring Robert Wagner, "Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!" (1958) with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and "Seven Thieves" (1960) with Edward G. Robinson and Rod Steiger. Whether your are talking about Evelyn Nesbit or Joan Collins, the reason for seeing "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing" is going to be because of historical interests rather than anything else. But why is she "in" the red velvet swing rather than "on" it? That was my big question at the end of this film."
"Shoot the moon!"
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 10/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ripped from a turn-of-the-century scandal, THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING is a fascinating movie starring Joan Collins as Evelyn Nesbit, the young showgirl who found herself at the center of the infamous Thaw/White murder trial.
Evelyn Nesbit (Joan Collins) achieves nationwide fame posing for Charles Dana Gibson (Richard Travis), and later becomes romantically linked with famous architect Stanford White (Ray Milland). Unwilling to create a scandal by divorcing his wife, Stanford instead enrols Evelyn in an exclusive boarding school where Evelyn, heartbroken, suffers a nervous breakdown.
Salvation comes in the form of millionaire playboy Harry Kendall-Thaw (Farley Granger). Seeing no other option, Evelyn reluctantly marries him; but his vicious imagination still believes White to be a competitor for Evelyn's love. Their violent relationship comes to a shocking climax when Thaw murders White on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden; Evelyn is then forced to endure a humiliating trial where her personal character is dragged through the mud.
THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING was originally slated as a musical entitled "The Girl in Pink Tights" and was to have starred Marilyn Monroe as Evelyn Nesbit. When Monroe's casting proved impossible, the premise of the film was changed to a crime drama and Fox starlet Joan Collins landed the plum lead role. Ray Milland offers a keenly-felt performance as Evelyn's fatherly lover White, and shares a great chemistry with Collins. Farley Granger was fabulous at playing unhinged brooding types, and his performance as Thaw is fascinating to watch. The strong cast also includes Cornelia Otis-Skinner, Gale Robbins, Luther Adler and Glenda Farrell. The Edwardian costume and set designs look lush in CinemaScope.
THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING, once one of the rarest movies you could find on home video or cable, looks simply sensational on DVD. Extra features include scene-specific (and virtually non-existent) audio commentary with film historian Aubrey Solomon, image galleries, restoration comparison, and the trailer.
Also available as part of The Joan Collins Superstar Collection (The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing / Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! / The Sea Wife / Seven Thieves / Stopover Tokyo)"
GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING
Clifford Mack | Los Angeles, CA. | 07/15/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One of Farley Granger's best performances highlights this period drama of the Evelyn Nesbit/Harry K. Thaw/Stanford White love and murder triangle. It was an early Cinemascope picture, full of vivid color; i hope the product description is in error when it says they've released it in full screen. If so, don't waste your money; it shows in a letterboxed version of the Fox Movie channel - watch that instead. Otherwise, an interesting, neglected film."
Way Off Base!
Willy D. Reviewer | San Francisco,CA | 12/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am surprised that Evelyn Nesbit gave the green light for this script. She did visit the set (and was paid for story rights), and later her only complaint was that Joan Collins was too British and too busty to play her.
Good grief Evelyn! They changed the facts of the story to Evelyn seducing Stanford White! For godsake, he raped her when she was 16 yr old and passed out from drinking champagne. This movie has him as the victim!
And the movie portrays her mother, and mother-in-law as being kindly women. In reality, her mother through parental neglect (and being financially subsidized by White) allowed White the opportunity to rape Evelyn, and Mrs. Thaw hated Evelyn all of her life.
But -- Joan Collins does have a good resemblance to Evelyn, and the costumes are historically accurate. For that the film gets 3 stars."