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Everlasting Star Community _ Marilyn's movies _ The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing

Posted by: lorileime Aug 16 2012, 03:53 AM

Just watched this movie and wich MM would have done it. It would have been a great vehicle for her. I wonder if she didn't do it because of the script, or because it was based on a true story, or because she would have had to dye her hair black. She would have been terrific in it.

Posted by: timetravelangel Aug 16 2012, 07:40 PM

QUOTE(lorileime @ Aug 16 2012, 03:53 AM) *
Just watched this movie and which MM would have done it. It would have been a great vehicle for her. I wonder if she didn't do it because of the script, or because it was based on a true story, or because she would have had to dye her hair black. She would have been terrific in it.



Hi Loreleime,

Its interesting you should bring this up because I watched the movie recently on YouTube solely because of the Marilyn reference.

I have to disagree with you though - I had the opposite reaction when I saw 'The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing' - I thought, thank God Marilyn didn't do this movie. I thought it was horrible. The character of Evelyn is basically a plaything of two sexual abusers. She begins with no power or agency and ends with even less. And the final scene is sad and degrading. I know it is based on a true story so they probably had to write Evelyn's story that way. As I say, I'm just glad Marilyn stood up to Zanuck and refused it. She was very canny about which scripts were good and which scripts were suitable for her.

I also think that it is not a great movie for other reasons, mostly because I wonder why they bothered to make it considering the strictures of the Hays Code at the time and all that. They weren't able to go into the details of what really happened to Evelyn Nesbitt, or to show the psychosexual complexities of the two male characters. I thought the actors did their best but the writer had little understanding of the characters of these men, how what they did impacted on those around them or of the 1900s era society's problematic views and double-standards with regards to young women.


Anyway, although that is my two cents worth I respect your viewpoint and thanks for bringing up this interesting topic.

I have always wanted to read 'Horns For The Devil' - the screenplay that Marilyn commissioned. I have read the paperback but not the screenplay. A copy of her screenplay is owned by a fan I believe...

Posted by: lorileime Aug 17 2012, 03:36 AM

When I watched it, I thought that the script was purposfully written with Marilyn in mind. And I had the feeling that someone must have told Joan to act like Marilyn. She seemed to be trying to do an impersonation of Marilyn at times. That made me feel like I was seeing a cheap immitation and wanted to see what Marilyn could have done with this role. I think she would have had a better sense of Evelyn and would have given her much more depth and complexity than Joan did.

Posted by: timetravelangel Aug 17 2012, 12:37 PM

QUOTE(lorileime @ Aug 17 2012, 03:36 AM) *
When I watched it, I thought that the script was purposfully written with Marilyn in mind. And I had the feeling that someone must have told Joan to act like Marilyn. She seemed to be trying to do an impersonation of Marilyn at times. That made me feel like I was seeing a cheap immitation and wanted to see what Marilyn could have done with this role. I think she would have had a better sense of Evelyn and would have given her much more depth and complexity than Joan did.


Hi,
Yes, I agree that Marilyn would have done a better job because she is a better actress all round. Joan wouldn't be the first person to imitate Marilyn, right? But I am glad Marilyn did not do it because it was not a well written part and the film was generally degrading and not worthy of any of these actresses. Interesting fact that the writer and producer of 'Velvet Swing' also wrote/ produced 'Niagara'.

niagarasing.gif

Posted by: lorileime Aug 17 2012, 11:14 PM

I don't think that the part was written as degrading if they stuck to the truth. It was the character who was a low-life and didn't stand up for herself or didn't get smart and really use and abuse the men to get ahead. But, anyway, I enjoyed watching it. I didn't know the story at all.

Posted by: timetravelangel Aug 18 2012, 06:01 PM

QUOTE(lorileime @ Aug 17 2012, 11:14 PM) *
I don't think that the part was written as degrading if they stuck to the truth. It was the character who was a low-life and didn't stand up for herself or didn't get smart and really use and abuse the men to get ahead.

This is going to sound like I'm picking a fight and I'm not but I'm just wondering why if you think that 'Evelyn' as written in the movie was a low-life you would want Marilyn to be in it?

I'll tell you why I think it was degrading: SPOILERS AHEAD

Evelyn begins as a working-class teenager who is preyed upon by a much older, powerful married man (Stanford White). He is by turns paternal and seductive. He is duplicitous. He has a secret lair away from his home where he conducts his affairs well away from his wife and family. Once he has seduced her (though the real Evelyn Nesbitt maintained it was date-rape) he later tries to farm her off to boarding school, recognising her for the child that she is. She is completely subjugated by him. Well, you could argue that the film-makers are just presenting the facts as they were, but what is sickening is that this movie presents this 'relationship' as romantic, as love's ideal, and that this proper gentleman just wants to do right by the young girl! If by contrast, you think the real Evelyn was in any case probably much more knowing and calculating it certainly isn't reflected in this screenplay. She has one dimension perpetual victim.

On to the sadistic Thaw who makes Evelyn the object of his obsession. Though he is violent (slapping her) and intimidating (the gun) and mentally cruel (the relentless questioning) she stays with him! Yes, this is what she did in real life, but the movie does not make the relation between the earlier abuse at the hands of White and the reason that Evelyn stayed with him was because she felt so degraded by White that she felt that no-one but the cruel Harry Thaw would want her. She even apologises for not being the virgin Harry thought she was, though it is fine that he is a playboy hence the double standards of their society with regard to female purity/sexuality. White (who is presented as ever-so moral) then has the temerity to accuse Evelyn's mother of 'selling her off' to Thaw.

Both men are presented as being attracted to her solely because of her youth/ beauty we do not know from the movie whether she was talented as an actress or hard-working or witty or clever or whether she had any kind of personality because the writing does not really present her as a whole human being. She is merely meat for these men to fight over. She is further manipulated by those around her during the trial. Thaw becomes a folk-hero for protecting his wife's honour (huh?) by murdering White, while Evelyn is looked upon by the crowds/ Thaws as some kind of whore.

While I don't object to telling a story about two misogynists and the docile girl trapped between the two, I do object to the inherently misogynistic screenwriting which never empowers the female character and seeks only to heap torment and blame upon her. For example, the final scene which is a burlesque of the incident of the velvet swing is like some sort of awful purgatory, with men leering and whooping as she relives the seduction by White for their entertainment. Is there no relief for this victimised person? According to the movie no. Why not include the facts that she soldiered on to become a mother and art teacher? There is no trace of compassion for Evelyn in the script merely contempt. And why they made it at all, since it whitewashes so much of what those two men were really up to, I don't know. For example, Thaw tortured a bellboy and then paid him off to keep him silent, and White had a penchant for teenage girls.

So that's my rant about this movie. It was never destined to be a classic I guess. And I find it an affront to Marilyn by Zanuck that he offered her such a script. Fortunately, she refused to do it. Sorry to go on so much, but I feel quite strongly about the way women are at times portrayed. On the other hand, there are vast amounts of good scripts, movies, plays by male and female writers alike who do portray women more truthfully/ sympathetically or at least as fully-rounded human beings.

Posted by: lorileime Aug 19 2012, 04:08 AM

Personally, I saw her as a victim of the men and the world she lived in, but maybe Marilyn could have given her a more sympathetic appeal and somehow make her more likeable. Anyway, you're right, not a classic by any means and Marilyn did make the right choice after her successes with Niagara and Blondes and Millionaire. This movie would definitely have been a step backwards for her. But, if this movie were remade today and Nesbit's real character explored a little more, somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like she tried her best to be manipulative and calculating, but she just didn't have the brain to carry it off. That would make a better movie.

Posted by: timetravelangel Aug 19 2012, 06:22 PM

QUOTE(lorileime @ Aug 19 2012, 04:08 AM) *
This movie would definitely have been a step backwards for her. But, if this movie were remade today and Nesbit's real character explored a little more, somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like she tried her best to be manipulative and calculating, but she just didn't have the brain to carry it off. That would make a better movie.



Excellent points, well argued Loreleime. I see where you're coming from. thumbup1.gif

Posted by: meganmarilyn Dec 12 2015, 07:16 AM

Enjoy! smile1.gif

 

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