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The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  1 October 1955 (USA)
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Reviews: 25 user | 6 critic

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing is the true story of Evelyn Nesbit Shaw, a beautiful showgirl caught in a love triangle with elderly architect Stanford White and eccentric young millionaire Harry K. Thaw.


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Complete credited cast:
Harry Kendall Thaw
Delphin Delmas
Cornelia Otis Skinner ...
Mrs. Thaw
Glenda Farrell ...
Mrs. Nesbit
Frances Fuller ...
Mrs. Elizabeth White
Phillip Reed ...
Robert Collier (as Philip Reed)
Gale Robbins ...
Gwen Arden
James Lorimer ...
William Travers Jerome
Robert F. Simon ...
Stage Manager (as Robert Simon)
Harvey Stephens ...
Dr. Hollingshead DDS
Emile Meyer ...


The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing is the true story of Evelyn Nesbit Shaw, a beautiful showgirl caught in a love triangle with elderly architect Stanford White and eccentric young millionaire Harry K. Thaw.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 October 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Mädchen auf der Samtschaukel  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Before being put on suspension, Marilyn Monroe was 20th Century-Fox's original choice for the role of Evelyn Nesbit. She turned this film and a forthcoming adaptation of the then-current Broadway musical 'The Girl in Pink Tights' (which was to co-star Dan Dailey and 'Mitzi Gaynor') and was put on suspension. Sheree North was then announced as her replacement for both films until Joan Collins was eventually cast as Nesbit. 'Girl in Pink Tights' was eventually abandoned. See more »


In a restaurant scene near the beginning of the film, architect Stanford White castigates a magazine editor for not including in an article about him the Boston Public Library, which he calls "the best thing I ever did." White's partner, Charles Follen McKim designed the Boston Public Library, not White. See more »


Mrs. Nesbit: I've seen more tears run down the pretty faces than the plain ones.
See more »


Referenced in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996) See more »


My Heart Still Clings to the Old First Love
Music by Paul Dresser
Played by request at Louis Sherry's restaurant
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent film bio given Hollywood restrictions
3 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First some truths and then a review of the film itself.

Evelyn Nesbit, from my own impressions of her recent bio, American Eve, and a clip of her singing from 1930, was a coarse, cheap, nearly talentless beauty of 1906 - all this faded by 1930, when she looked quite plain and homely. Stanford White was obese, a womanizer and a trafficker in underage virgins. Harry Thaw was a madman, pure and simple, protected by his wealth. He also was quite plain and homely. Evelyn's mother was also a trafficker, for her daughter - she makes GYPSY's Madame Rose look like Melanie Hamilton.

Hollywood could not have produced a film true to the characters in 1955. It would never have passed the censors. You didn't touch motherhood then. GYPSY on stage was four years later.

Given the basic narrative structure of the facts, and allowing for Hollywood's restrictions, THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING is for me an excellent filmization of this narrative. Beautifully photographed and given sumptuous production design as well as excellent casting, it stands as a very interesting "take" on the "crime of the century."

I applaud it and its makers. For something truer to the original characters, visit the segments in RAGTIME devoted to this story. Elizabeth McGovern's turn as the passive, dim-witted Evelyn is much truer to the real woman and deservedly brought her an Ocar nomination.

Shame on the Academy for denying it any noms- it deserved recognition in the Cinematography, Art Direction and Costume Design categories. Farley Granger gives his best performance as the deranged Thaw. Glenda Farrell as Mrs. Nesbit also deserved consideration in the supporting category.

Interesting to note that the love theme is a blatant steal from Max Steiner's Melanie and Ashley love theme in GONE WITH THE WIND, borrowing the first two stanzas of that theme.

If they ever film the bisexual Granger's fascinating life, consider Michael Ellison, the sensitive young actor of THE BEST MEN - a look alike with hidden depths.

Do see THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING and RAGTIME in succession to get an overall impression of this fascinating triangle.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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