The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

DVD - 2007
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Evelyn Nesbit is young, beautiful and the object of much affection. But she only has eyes for older, suave Stanford White. Despite White's marriage and their significant age difference, they become secret lovers until White decides it is best to break off the affair. Desperate to remain close to her true love, Evelyn decides to marry Harry K. Thaw, a competitor of White's. But haunted by his new wife's past, Thaw won't rest until he make sure he is the only man in her life.

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Fuzzy_Wuzzy
Jun 26, 2014

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, 50 years earlier, 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 wicked scheme of things.

And, on top of that, the sexual implications of Nesbit's torrid affair (at the age of 17) with a man 48 years old was down-played so unrealistically as to make it appear as if she and Stanford White were merely platonic friends (or father and daughter).

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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