14 June 2007 | Doylenf
Rosalind Russell fails to use the velvet touch...
ROSALIND RUSSELL is a stage actress who accidentally murders a lecherous producer (LEON AMES) in this melodramatic show biz story that has Russell trapped in a web of deception after killing Ames. Their stormy relationship is revealed in flashbacks as Russell thinks back on what led up to the murder.
Unfortunately, Russell lends not a velvet touch to the proceedings, but an artificial one. Her stage actress is full of Russell's most studied mannerisms, including shifty-eyed side glances whenever pangs of guilt are displayed. She's all artifice, but because she's playing a stage actress I suppose it's forgivable. Still, a little less posturing and more real acting would have helped.
CLAIRE TREVOR, as her rival on and off the stage, does a less mannered job as the hard-boiled other woman. LEO GENN is the architect who never goes to the theater and doesn't know Russell at all. It is he who comes between Ames and Russell once she decides she loves him.
Some of the plot contrivances are not exactly believable. Genn's sudden interest in the actress is one of them, as is their quickly falling in love. Forty-five minutes into the story SYDENY GREENSTREET makes his appearance to investigate the case and from this point on interest in the outcome mounts steadily as the investigation goes forward.
But the whole story is hardly handled with any subtlety. No melodramatic moment is overlooked by actress Russell or director John Gage. And that goes for the cat-and-mouse game Greenstreet plays with Russell. He plays his role with finesse, but it's the script that finally defeats everyone, especially Russell whose guilt complex is overplayed throughout.
Summing up: Interesting with some good moments but obvious. Trevor and Greenstreet steal the show, but Genn is wasted and Russell is ultimately a disappointment.
Trivia note: Expensive theater tickets were $4.80 in 1948.