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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It's the early twentieth century New York City. There exists a high level of animosity by Harry Thaw, a wealthy Pittsburgh businessman, toward renowned architect Stanford White for Harry feeling those dealing with the New York social set giving Stanford many of the perks that should rightfully have gone to him. While Stanford is mature and refined, Harry is brash, impetuous and volatile. That animosity is ratcheted up a notch when they both meet Evelyn Nesbit, a beautiful but poor model with who they are both infatuated, she appearing in the chorus of her first Broadway musical revue. After getting to know Evelyn, married Stanford, who still loves his wife and thus will not divorce her, wants nonetheless to provide Evelyn with the comforts and breeding of those within his social circle. His infatuation with her is also despite he being old enough to be her father. Harry, who is more age appropriate, takes a more direct approach in his pursuit of Evelyn, he doing whatever to convince ...Written by
Before being put on suspension, Marilyn Monroe was 20th Century-Fox's original choice for the role of Evelyn Nesbit. She turned down this film and a forthcoming remake of Wabash Avenue (1950) titled '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 »
If you made a completely factual account of the famous Thaw-Nesbit-White triangle which scandalized the folks of the Theodore Roosevelt era, I suspect none of these people would be regarded as innocent. But with 20th Century Fox entitling their film about the case The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing you know the accent will be on Joan Collins as Evelyn Nesbit as a wronged woman.
Collins with her involvements first with the married Stanford White played by Ray Milland and later marrying the homicidal Harry K. Thaw played by Farley Granger is shown as a girl just in over her head before she realizes it. In real life pushed by an ambitious stage mother, chorus girl Evelyn was well aware of her spectacular beauty even as a teen and it was as a teen that she met Stanford White who seduced her.
White on the other hand was a notorious rake, a fact his wife in the film played by Frances Fuller realizes and accepts. In the beginning he sees her off to Europe and Ray Milland is off to fun and frolic. If you see a picture of the real Stanford White he had a huge handlebar mustache which no doubt tickled many fancies. Milland plays him clean shaved.
And Harry Thaw was definitely a candidate for the rubber room. Of the three in the triangle Farley Granger more closely captures his character than either Milland or Collins. What is not shown is that in addition to his psychological problems, Thaw was also a drug addict. That was not something discussed in polite society and in fact a subject rarely brought up by Hollywood during the rule of the Code. The same year The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing came out, Hollywood finally an honest film about dope addiction with Otto Preminger's The Man With The Golden Arm.
None of these people are candidates for sainthood. White, the most brilliant architect of his time was a rake, Nesbit was a gold digger and more than likely may berated have husband Thaw with tales of Stanny's sexual prowess and Thaw was just nuts.
So tilting this film toward Nesbit gave us the film we have which is not a bad one. Collins, a third choice to play Nesbit after Marilyn Monroe and Sheree North, was definitely great in the role. The film is more or less factually true, but it's all a question of spin.
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