The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing is the true story of Evelyn Nesbit (Dame Joan Collins), a beautiful showgirl caught in a love triangle with elderly architect Stanford White (Ray Milland) and eccentric young millionaire Harry K. Thaw (Farley Granger).
It's the early twentieth century New York City. There exists a high level of animosity by Harry K. Thaw (Farley Granger), a wealthy Pittsburgh businessman, toward renowned architect Stanford White (Ray Milland) for Harry feeling those dealing with the New York City and 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 (Dame Joan Collins), a beautiful but poor model with whom 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 ...Written by
Marilyn Monroe was Twentieth Century Fox's original choice for the role of Evelyn Nesbit. She turned down this movie, as well as a planned remake of Wabash Avenue (1950) titled "The Girl in Pink Tights" (which was to co-star Dan Dailey and Mitzi Gaynor). As a result, she was put on suspension. Sheree North was then announced as her replacement for both movies until Dame Joan Collins was eventually cast as Nesbit. "The Girl in Pink Tights" project 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 »
Here's my guess as to why this 1955 "Trial-of-the-Century" drama (which highlighted the real-life Thaw-White murder case from 1906) failed to deliver a substantial enough wallop and, thus, hold onto this viewer's rapt attention.
It was because the real-life Evelyn Nesbit (who, at a much younger age, had played a pivotal part in this murder case) was now playing "technical adviser" on the set of this 1955 picture. And, as a result, nothing in the story could be filmed without her prior consent.
And because of this veto power that Nesbit (72 at the time) wielded, her youthful character in the story was white-washed, and made out to be the sweetest, most naive, little innocent bystander in the scheme of things.
And, on top of that, the sexual implications of Nesbit's torrid affair, at 17, with a man 3 times her age was down-played so unrealistically as to make it appear as if she and Stanford White were merely platonic friends.
As a result of all of this down-playing (at Nesbit's insistence) this film's story was virtually rendered flat and uninspired, with only shallow and apathetic performances given by all of its principal players.
I honestly believe that this 1955 picture could've been real dynamite story-telling had Evelyn Nesbit not had such a strangle-hold on its subject matter, as she adamantly insisted that her once ravishing "Gibson Girl" image remain intact, thus making certain that she was portrayed as the absolute epitome of "Turn of the Century" innocence.
Directed by Richard Fleischer (a fairly notable director), this disappointing melodrama suffered, as well, from a curious lack of essential close-ups.
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