One of the lesser efforts in director Richard Fleischer's uneven career, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing is a middling melodrama masquerading as a biopic. Audiences in the 1950s were still familiar with the scandalous Stanford White murder affair, but modern audiences won't have that extra "pull" to draw them into the story -- which has been bowdlerized, naturally, for filming, and which plays fast and loose with the facts (common in Hollywood dramatizations of real events). Charles Brackett and Walter Reisch's screenplay is surprisingly commonplace, more concerned with getting from point A to point B than with creating interesting characters or captivating dialogue. It's not helped by Fleischer's lackluster direction, which is unhurried to the point that the film almost comes to a complete halt in places. Fleischer also is not much help to the male leads, with Ray Milland coming off as a bit bland and Farley Granger simply irritating. Joan Collins does considerably better in the title role; it's not great acting, but it's the kind of B-level star turn that Girl demands, and Collins gives it in spades. Collins, the sets and costumes, and some good work from cinematographer Milton Krasner make The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing enjoyable, if unexceptional.
by Craig Butler review