Velvet Underwhelmed: Our critics discuss The Velvet Touch (for Parterre Box)

David Fox: It stands to reason that All About Eve would not be unique in tackling backstage theatrical intrigue and leading ladies at a crossroads. But till our esteemed editor James Jorden suggested looking at films with a similar theme, I’d never really thought about it, and The Velvet Touch was a movie I’d never heard of, let alone seen. I’m so delighted to discover it now! TVT had me at hello, with its titles over a glamorous caricature of Rosalind Russell waving a cigarette holder, and one of those unseen movie choruses singing a romantic title song. Next, we get shots of Manhattan at night and theater marquees—notably one for Valerie Stanton (Roz, of course) in Escapade. We will later see posters for other Valerie Stanton vehicles, including Scandalous and It’s a Gay Life. (Sidebar: A peculiar fetish of mine is plays made up for movies. OK, they don’t exist. I get that. But still, could Lloyd Richards’ Footsteps on the Ceiling be any worse than Oleanna, or Thom Pain (based on nothing), or The Sound Inside? I’m willing to bet the answer is no.)

Cameron Kelsall: The Velvet Touch actually predates All About Eve by two years, but in terms of quality, it is certainly a poor relation in this particular family of melodramas. Let’s get something out of the way up front—this isn’t a very good film, even by potboiler standards. The first scene establishes the stakes, or should, when Valerie bludgeons her controlling lover, Gordon Dunning (Leon Ames), who also happens to be her producer, in a fit of passion…

Click here to read the full discussion at Parterre Box.

Categories: Criticism, Movies, PARTERRE BOX

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