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MoMA

FILM SCREENINGS

<em>The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing</em>. 1955. USA. Directed by Richard Fleischer. Pictured: Joan Collins. Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
  • The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

    1955. USA. Richard Fleischer. 109 min.

Saturday, November 5, 2011, 4:00 p.m.

Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2



  • The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

    1955. USA. Directed by Richard Fleischer. Screenplay by Walter Reisch, Charles Brackett. With Ray Milland, Joan Collins, Farley Granger, Luther Adler. “The very womb in which Harry grew was a torture chamber—a torture chamber of mother love,” laments the mother of Harry Thaw, offering a delectable bit of 1950s Freudian pop psychology and Momist self-blame to rationalize his sensational 1906 murder of the architect Stanford White during a jealous rage over the actress Evelyn Nesbit (a tale also told in E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime and Claude Chabrol’s A Girl Cut in Two). Farley Granger is appropriately unhinged as Thaw, Ray Milland plays White with a sense of lecherous entitlement, and Joan Collins is both knowingly seductive and sympathetic as the girl on the red velvet swing (Marilyn Monroe, the studio’s initial choice, was suspended when she refused to play the role). According to reports, Nesbit, at 65, influenced the script to paint herself in a most flattering light. Fleischer, who was particularly gifted at widescreen compositions in films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Violent Saturday, and The Boston Strangler, enlisted cameraman Milton R. Krasner and production designers Maurice Ransford and Lyle R. Wheeler to create the film’s resplendently rococo décor and symbolic color palette. Preserved by Twentieth Century Fox. 109 min.