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.
Three performers for six roles: this is the game of the film. A melodrama about two love triangles. In the first, Hagalin is killed by his mistress and her lover. In the second, attorney ... See full summary »
Pinkie Brown is a small-town hoodlum whose gang runs a protection racket based at Brighton race course. When Pinkie orders the murder of a rival, Fred, the police believe it to be suicide. ... See full summary »
Antonia, the pampered wife of Martin Lynch-Gibbon, an upper class wine merchant, tells her husband that she is in love with their best friend, the psychiatrist Palmer Anderson. Palmer and ... See full summary »
A former getaway driver from Chicago (George C. Scott) has retired to a peaceful life in a Portuguese fishing village. He is asked to pull off one last job, involving driving a dangerous ... See full summary »
George C. Scott,
Trish Van Devere
Two soldiers of fortune, Harry Grigsby and Kip Thompson, used to be the best of friends when they fought side by side in the Congo. But now Kip has changed sides and Grigsby does not ... See full summary »
Peter Watson is troubled with pain and and an inability to sleep. He tries to light the gas-fire and seeks held from another lodger, artist Nicholas, who is spending the night with his ... See full summary »
London, 1949. John Christie is an unassuming, middle-aged man who, along with his wife Ethel, lives in the ground-floor flat at 10 Rillington Place. His demeanor masks the fact of being a serial killer. His modus operandi is to act as a person with a medical background, lure unsuspecting women to his apartment on the pretense of curing them of some ailment, knock them unconscious with carbon monoxide gas, gain his sexual release through contact with the unconscious body, then strangle the victim dead before disposing of the body somewhere in the house or outside area. His next intended target is Beryl Evans, a young woman who has just moved into the top flat in the house. Beryl's husband, Tim Evans, is an illiterate man who likes to put on airs. Already with an infant daughter named Geraldine, the Evanses learn they are going to have another baby, which they cannot afford to have, nor can they afford to abort the pregnancy. This problem, on top of the constant issue of lack of money ... Written by
The film was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for English actor John Hurt. The nomination was Hurt's first ever BAFTA nomination (he did not win) with several others following in his career with Hurt winning a BAFTA next time for Best Actor in a TV role for his part in The Naked Civil Servant (1975). See more »
The caption '1949' appears on the screen as the Evans family come to view the top floor of 10 Rillington Place, but in fact they moved in in 1948. See more »
No need to repeat consensus points already made. Instead, I'll try to touch on noteworthy aspects generally unmentioned.
The movie's not only a reflection on the death penalty, but on anti-abortion laws, as well. Those desperate women wouldn't have been driven into the clutches of the lunatic Cristie were abortion licensed and legal. That may not have stopped his madness, but he would have had to come up with a different ploy.
The movie focuses on one particular episode (the Evans killings) rather than the series of killings that actually covered a considerable time period. So, cooped up in the city, Cristie ends up hiding his many victims where he can (in the garden, in the washroom, in the walls). What surprises me is that no one, least of all, the wife, notices what must have been an atrocious smell.
Note the dispatch with which Evans is hanged, unlike the more ritualized American way. I assume the movie is an accurate depiction. He walks into an ordinary room, the hood is placed over his head, and plop, the trapdoor opens. And it takes just about that long. The suddenness really startled me.
Contrast two ends of the serial killer spectrumthe shy, unattractive Cristie and the charming, handsome Ted Bundy of 1970's America. Understandably, Bundy had no trouble luring girls to their doom; judging from the movie, however, Cristie's victims must have been truly desperate to let that little creep lay hands on them.
Not mentioned in the movie, but in one of the books that I recall, is that Cristie kept swatches of pubic hair as trophies.
Like any good document on serial killers, the film presents a glimpse of lives and social levels that otherwise go unnoticed. Here we get a sense of a decaying part of London and the dreary lives hanging on there. A good movie or book is like a knife slicing through a cake, exposing layers that otherwise remain hidden. That's the particular strength of this film.
My only reservation is the casting of Judy Geeson as Evans' wife. She seems too pretty and smart to be hooked up with a dead-ender like Evans. Still and all, Geeson's performance is excellent note her subtle expressions on first meeting the creepy Cristie. Nonetheless, I suspect her casting was the one concession the producers made to commercial appeal.
All in all, it's a grim, ugly film-- as it should be. We may not get much sense of why Cristie has taken the warped, monstrous turn he has. But then such dark matters may be beyond us, anyway. Above all, the movie should not be viewed in a depressed state or if you're looking for a room to rent.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?