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directed by Jack Gage
USA 1948

 

Valerie Stanton (Russell) is a famous Broadway actress who has been associated with successful producer Gordon Dunning (Ames) for the last ten years. The film opens as they are arguing in his theater's office, just before the closing show of "Escapade" their latest comedy hit. She is tired of doing popular fluff comedy plays and wants to do a serious play, Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler," with rival producer Peter Gunther. Gordon seems amazed that she would want to play a tortured neurotic woman who kills herself. The argument gets more heated when they talk about love and their relationship, as Gordon believes love is a business proposition. He tells her, "I created you. I can't let go of you." She tells him that she wants to marry the prominent architect Michael Morrell (Genn), someone she has fallen in love with. When Gordon threatens to sully her name with Morrell, the black gloved actress becomes fearful and in the heat of the moment kills him when she conks him over the head with a statue from his desk.

Since Valerie has an iron-clad alibi, suspicions go to a rival actress in the show, Marian Webster (Trevor). The body is found by Marian, an actress in Gordon's stable who was his girlfriend and star before Valerie moved into the picture. Marian's fingerprints are found all over the murder weapon, and she has to be hospitalized as she goes into a state of shock and is unable to be questioned by the investigating homicide officer, Captain Danbury (Greenstreet).

Excerpt of review from Dennis Schwartz for Ozus' World Movie Reviews located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 13 July 1948 (USA)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:36:36
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.93 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� None

DVD Release Date: April 8th, 2015
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Chapters 13

 

 

 

Comments

The Velvet Touch is often overlooked from the film noir cannon in favor of superior movie released several months prior that is also set in a theater and told from the murderous actor's point of view - George Cukor's A Double Life.

Rosalind Russell (His Girl Friday, Gypsy) stars as Valerie Stanton, a Broadway star of light comedy musicals. She wishes to perform Ibsen's Hedda Gabler for a different producer, but her current producer Gordon Dunning (Leon Ames, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Postman Always Rings Twice) doesn't want to end their successful partnership. During a heated argument, Valerie kills Dunning and a rival actress Marian Webster (Claire Trevor, Stagecoach, Murder, My Sweet), who discovered the body, is blamed for the murder. Sydney Greenstreet (The Maltese Falcon, The Mask of Dimitrios), in a rare likeable role as Captain Danbury, is brought in to solve the case. Other notable performers in the cast include Leo Genn (Quo Vadis, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin), Lex Barker (Tarzan and Old Shatterhand), Frank McHugh (All Through the Night), Esther Howard (Born to Kill). An uneven film, this was the only feature directed by Jack Gage who would move to television. The film was produced by a theatrical producer and Russell's husband Frederick Brisson, who would also co-produce musicals The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees! for stage and screen.

The Velvet Touch was distributed by RKO, so it had several DVD releases in other regions, including a 2013 British disc from Odeon Entertainment (before they became known as Screenbound Pictures). The film finally saw a stateside release from Warner as part of Warner Archive Collection in 2015. The progressive transfer on this single-layered made-on-demand platter looks fine, but has many instances of specs and marks on the print - there is rarely a scene without something flickering in the frame. Saying that, the contrast looks good and blacks are deep showing well cinematography by Joseph Walker (It Happened One Night, It's a Wonderful Life) and, especially, various gowns of Ms. Russell. The English mono soundtrack is serviceable, without any distortions and musical score by Leigh Harline (Pickup on South Street, 23 Paces to Baker Street, House of Bamboo, Broken Lance), including a title song with lyrics by Mort Greene over the opening credits, come off well. There are no extras on the disc although a 1949 Lux Radio Theater production with Rosalind Russell and Sydney Greenstreet reprising their roles would have been a welcome addition. Nevertheless, we hope this release will place The Velvet Touch in well-deserved film noir filmography.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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