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The Blue Gardenia (1953)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 March 1953 (USA)
A telephone operator ends up drunk and at the mercy of a cad in his apartment. The next morning she wakes up with a hangover and the terrible fear she may be a murderess.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Charles Hoffman (screenplay), Vera Caspary (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anne Baxter ... Norah Larkin
Richard Conte ... Casey Mayo
Ann Sothern ... Crystal Carpenter
Raymond Burr ... Harry Prebble
Jeff Donnell ... Sally Ellis
Richard Erdman ... Al
George Reeves ... Police Capt. Sam Haynes
Ruth Storey Ruth Storey ... Rose Miller
Ray Walker ... Homer
Nat 'King' Cole ... Nat 'King' Cole
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Storyline

In Los Angeles, on the day of her birthday, the telephone operator Norah Larkin decides to celebrate dining alone at home, with the picture of her beloved fiancé, a soldier overseas, and reading his last letter to her. In the letter he tells her that he met an Army nurse stationed in Japan and plans to marry her. Norah, completely upset, accepts to blind date the Don Juan and photographer of calendar girls Harry Prebble. They go to the Blue Gardenia Club, and Norah drinks six strong cocktails Polynesian Pearl Divers and gets completely drunk. Harry takes her to his apartment and tries to force Norah to have sex, and she uses a poker to hit Harry on the head. On the next morning, she wakes-up in her apartment with her two roommates, but she can not remember what happened. When she reads the newspaper, she finds that Harry is dead and the police has her handkerchief, her high heels and her blue gardenia and is chasing the woman that killed the famous wolf Harry. When she reads in the ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There was nothing lily-white about her !


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blue Gardenia See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was completed in just twenty days. See more »

Goofs

When May, the Flower Woman brings a gardenia to Nat King Cole, she lifts her leg unhesitatingly onto the step up to the level of the piano. No blind person could make such a smooth move no matter how well they knew the area. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Casey Mayo: [friendly waking up Al in the backseat of his car] Hey,
[rustles his hair]
Casey Mayo: sleepy.
Al: [wakes up slightly startled] Where?
[sign reads: West Coast Telephone Co]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Django Unchained (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Gardenia
Written by Bob Russell and Lester Lee
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole
Arranged by Nelson Riddle
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Cinderella Murder
5 November 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In The Blue Gardenia, Anne Baxter's feeling low and depressed because her GI fiancé in Korea has given her the brushoff. Against her better judgment she goes out with Raymond Burr, full time artist and full time wolf. A few Polynesian Pearl Divers in the local bar which might have been spiked and Anne's not doing so good. But good enough to hit Burr with a fireplace poker and somehow make her way home like Cinderella with both shoes missing.

George Reeves taking a break from Superman plays the Los Angeles homicide detective gets a little unwanted help from Richard Conte, a Walter Winchell like newspaper columnist who's no doubt thinking of the black dahlia murders in LA a few years because a Blue Gardenia's been left at the crime scene and Nat King Cole both sang it live and on record in the film.

In the meantime Baxter's mood swings are being noticed by her roommates Ann Sothern and Jeff Donnell. And Conte's got his own investigation going into the Blue Gardenia murder. It all makes for one interesting and murky film in the tradition of Fritz Lang.

Anne in a sense does a reprise of her Oscar winning performance from The Razor's Edge as a woman being trapped in tragedy. She blamed herself for her family's death in The Razor's Edge and she may or may not have killed Burr. The only difference is that an arrest might lead to an expiation of sin of a sort.

Fritz Lang made a specialty in harassed and harried protagonists getting themselves into some real jackpots whether it was Henry Fonda in You'll Only Live Once, Edward G. Robinson in Scarlett Street and The Woman In the Window, and we can even count Peter Lorre in M. These are people who in fact were guilty. For the first time however Lang's harried protagonist is a woman and Anne gives a great performance.

One scene I really loved is one with Almira Sessions as a brain dead housekeeper who finds Burr's body and then proceeds to clean up the crime scene. After all as she explains to Reeves this is her job and what she's paid to do. The fact she's destroyed all forensic evidence doesn't seem to impress her in the slightest.

On the other hand had she done like a normal person would have and not touched anything, the forensics would have cleared the whole thing up and we wouldn't have a movie.


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