The Velvet Touch Film Details
Overview: A Broadway star unintentionally kills her impresario but keeps mum about it when the police investigator targets a rival actress.
Tagline: Rosalind has her eye on three men… three men have their eye on Rosalind… one of them is up to no good!
Review: Sidney Greenstreet rarely played roles where he was on the side of the law. Casper Gutman set the stamp that Greenstreet would be usually the villain of the piece. But occasionally he is a legal (or quasi-legal) authoritarian figure. Superintendent Grodman of Scotland Yard (THE VERDICT), Sheriff Titus Semple (FLAMINGO ROAD), Solicitor Jerome K. Arbutny (THREE STRANGERS) are all involved in the law, but all cross the line (although Grodman’s crimes are actually to punish a man who was responsible for two murders – one a judicial murder – and also to rid the British public of Grodman’s incompetent, but overly ambitious successor Superintendent Buckley). Greenstreet also, occasionally, played sleuths. In CONFLICT he is a psychiatrist who realizes that Humphrey Bogart is a killer, and uses psychological warfare to force Bogart to reveal his hand. And here, in THE VELVET TOUCH, he is a police detective in New York City. And he is determined to solve the murder of Broadway Producer Leon Ames. Greenstreet’s technique here is like a possible model for Peter Falk’s “Columbo”. He studies the case, zeros in on the likely suspect, and never gets out of that person’s face – turning up all over the place. He can act naturally (like Columbo does) because he loves the theater, and is a fan of Rosalind Russell. She is slowly aware that he is a fan of her talent, but that he is equally determined never to lose sight of his job and his case. THE VELVET TOUCH is an interesting film noir that never quite gets as noir as one would have suspected. Probably the reason is that the stage atmosphere, with it’s sexual tensions (between Ames and Russell, Ames and Trevor, Genn and Russell) are all as interesting, as is the stage rivalry between star Russell and rising rival Trevor. So the noir atmosphere does not dominate as much as it normally would. Russell is a leading lady who has had a well publicized romance with big time producer Ames. But he has been showing a cooling down towards her, and it is directed towards Trevor. Russell confronts him, and in the confrontation she kills him. She is able to leave, but (ironically enough) Trevor shows up at the theater at the same time, and this will come back to haunt Trevor. Russell, meanwhile, has started recovering with Leo Genn, and Greenstreet, quietly notes all this. While a whispering campaign circulates against Trevor, Greenstreet keeps up a subtle pressure on Russell that slowly affects her working and emotional relationships. This intrudes in her new dramatic production – she is playing Ibsen’s HEDDA GABLA. SPOILER COMING UP. Trevor commits suicide due to the suspicions against her. But Greenstreet is not impressed (unlike the others). He promises to tell his favorite actress his solution to the murder after watching the first night performance as Hedda. As he watches from the wings, Russell sends him a message confessing to the crime. He is obviously expecting that confession. And the play is approaching it’s end, when Hedda commits suicide. We watch the conclusion – will Russell actually kill herself now or will she be a trooper in the end? It is an interesting variation for Greenstreet, and gives Russell a rare chance to play a villain. Genn is good too, trying to give the emotional support to the woman he loves but finding her coming apart at the seams because of Greenstreet’s relentlessness. In the end it just is too much for him too handle. And Trevor’s collapse and destruction is startling – she rarely goes so totally to pieces. The sole weakness in the plot is that Russell’s villainy is not as ruthless as most noir villains (although she encourages rumors against Trevor). But the setting up of the cat and mouse plot is sufficient to make this weakness less important than it seems at first sight.
Country: United States
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Also known as: Cae el telón,Quand le rideau tombe,Прикосновение бархата,Brott på Broadway,A Voz da Consciência,The Velvet Touch,Valeria l’amante che uccide,De fluwelen handschoen,Die bronzene Göttin,Hedda Gabler,Epäilysten ulkopuolella,Atingerea catifelată,A Última Noite de Glória,Hedda Gabler: cae el telón,To mavro ganti