Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rosalind Russell in The Velvet Touch 1948

In 1948 Rosalind Russell and her husband Fredrick Brisson (occasionally referred to as The Lizard of Roz) embarked on a career partnership that paralleled their marriage with this film. It was the first of many of Roz's films that was based on a Broadway play that Brisson negotiated the rights for. It centers around the complicated life of actress Valerie Stanton (Russell) who is under the thumb of her producer (Leon Ames), but wants to try her wings at more challenging material than he is willing to offer her. During an overheated meeting she inadvertently kills him. Circumstances lead to an enemy of hers being accused of the crime and Valerie finds herself in a moral conundrum. 
This suspenseful film is full of sparkling dialog with witty turns of phrase that contrast the dramatic subject matter and make it a delight to watch. Also starring in the film are Sydney Greenstreet and Claire Trevor. It's hard to find and only occasionally shown on TV. You can get the old video tapes of it on Amazon.com, but that's about the only source for it right now. Perhaps it will find its way into TCM's DVD release series. We can only hope.

Obscurity factor 9 (No DVD, hard to find, not on YouTube or iOffer.com, rarely seen on television)


  1. I stumbled upon this a long time ago on television and it was fabulous - and it's use of Hedda Gabler is nothing less than sensational!

  2. Yes, it's a personal favorite...

  3. I wonder if people have uploaded the film to youtube and it got removed for copyright reasons? I'm guessing that it's not just the films from major studios that get yanked down.

    1. Yes, if someone is actively protecting the copyrights of a property then it will get flagged and removed. It's kinda random what is being protected and what is not, though everyone seems to be getting more savvy lately...