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The Velvet Touch (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 13 July 1948 (USA)
A Broadway star unintentionally kills her impresario but keeps mum about it when the police investigator targets a rival actress.


Jack Gage (as John Gage)


Leo Rosten (screen play), Walter Reilly (adaptation) | 2 more credits »


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Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Oresteia set in New England, after the American Civil War.

Director: Dudley Nichols
Stars: Rosalind Russell, Michael Redgrave, Raymond Massey


Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosalind Russell ... Valerie Stanton / Actress in 'Hedda Gabler': Hedda Gabler
Leo Genn ... Michael Morrell
Claire Trevor ... Marian Webster
Sydney Greenstreet ... Captain Danbury
Leon Ames ... Gordon Dunning
Frank McHugh ... Ernie Boyle
Walter Kingsford ... Peter Gunther
Dan Tobin ... Jeff Trent
Lex Barker ... Paul Banton
Nydia Westman ... Susan Crane
Theresa Harris ... Nancy
Russell Hicks ... Judge Brack / Actor in 'Hedda Gabler': Judge Brack
Irving Bacon ... Albert
Esther Howard ... Pansy Dupont
Harry Hayden ... Mr. Crouch


Broadway star Valerie Stanton, breaking up with her producer-lover Gordon Dunning, unintentionally kills him. In flashback, she recalls meeting new flame Michael Morrell, and Dunning's machinations leading to the fatal argument. The next day, it appears that Valerie's former rival Marian Webster is the prime suspect. Or is suave police Captain Danbury just playing cat and mouse with her? Nicely catty dialogue. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"You can get away with anything if you've got it...Anything"


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

13 July 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Voz da Consciência See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA


Box Office


$1,400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of the few sympathetic roles ever played by Sydney Greenstreet. See more »


When the play Hedda Gabler is performed on stage, it ends without its famous last line: "People don't do such things." See more »


Jeff Trent: I'll give you the lead in tomorrow's column.
Marian Webster: Thanks, I'll settle for a drink.
See more »


The Velvet Touch
Written by Mort Greene & Leigh Harline
[Title song sung by male chorus during opening title and credits]
See more »

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User Reviews

Nifty murder mystery in beautiful theater
23 December 2003 | by jimorSee all my reviews

The murder mystery genre is carried out here well by some capable, veteran Hollywood regulars. While this was not Rosalind Russell's high point (that occurred in the film "Auntie Mame" ten years after this one was made), she does acquit herself well as the diva restless to go her own way and thus finds herself in a trap of her own making. The police detective captain played by Sydney Greenstreet is right up there with his unforgettable presence in the "Maltese Falcon" but here he parries the dialog with oiled charm in contrast to La Russel's soigne bearing of hateur a la the 'grande dame' actress she portrays. While the cast is uniformly good, and the story told in an unconventional way, it is not these things that stand out for me, since such a setting of a murder in a theatre was done before in such as the "G-string Murders" and others.

What does stand out for this film, however, is the background of a truly sumptuous theatre that you would swear was the real thing. Since I write about the draperies and passementeries used in theatres (as a member of the Theatre Historical Society of America), I was anxious to learn just where this monument with its gorgeous textiles was, and inquired of the American Film Institute through their web site. Their librarian graciously replied from their "AFI Catalog of Feature Films" that the theatre building was in fact a very elaborate set (said to be the largest and most elaborate to date)! They quote articles in the "Hollywood Reporter" of 1947 and '48 as their source of the details of this 1-1/2 million dollar film. The multi-swaged Grand Drapery and the stage's House Curtain with its 3-foot appliqued border above a 2-foot fringe is but an example of the gorgeous textiles they had created for presumably just this one use, along with all the elaborate decor and detailing. The attention to detail was so great that it is still hard to believe that one is not in a real building! Such work today would command many millions more dollars, but I guess that Hollywood could not arrange to get a suitable New York 'Broadway' theatre for rent for the filming at the right price and time, so they splurged on this set which is among several other good ones in the film. For those who appreciate movie settings as much as the story and acting, this one will please you.

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