“In 1906, the Thaw-White murder case rocked America. Because it involved a man of great consequence, another of great wealth, and a girl of extraordinary beauty, it remains unique in the annals of crime . . . What follows is taken from actual reports of the trial, and from personal interviews with Evelyn Nesbit.”
Based on one of the most notorious real-life murder cases of the 20th century, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing was set in New York City.
Newly wealthy and brash Pittsburgh businessman Harry K Thaw (Farley Granger) and renowned architect Stanford White (Ray Milland) are fierce rivals in the New York social set.
That animosity is ratcheted up a notch when they both meet Evelyn Nesbit (Joan Collins), a beautiful but poor model and chorus girl with whom they both become infatuated.
Although happily married (and despite being old enough to be her father), Stanford wants to provide Evelyn – who works in the Floradora show at the Casino, a New York theatre – with the comforts and breeding of those within his social circle.
Harry takes a more direct approach in his pursuit of Evelyn, doing whatever he can to convince her that Stanford is taking advantage of her.
Evelyn admits that she is in love with Stanford, although she is unsure if she can assume the role of the hidden “other woman”.
She ultimately marries Harry Thaw, who – not to put too fine a point on it – is as nutty as a fruitcake.
Harry eventually shoots Stanford White dead, but Evelyn testifies to unspeakable vices during the subsequent trial to save her lawful spouse from the electric chair.
The real Evelyn Nesbit overcame the trial, rejection by Thaw’s family, suicide attempts, alcoholism, and morphine addiction to live until the age of 82 in 1967. She served as an adviser on this film.
Harry K. Thaw
Cornelia Otis Skinner
Robert F. Simon