6.9/10
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58 user 18 critic

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

Theme from 'Now, Voyager'
(uncredited)
Music by Max Steiner
occurs periodically in the underscore
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Nostalgic Melodrama
31 December 2005 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Norah, a young, attractive woman (played by Anne Baxter), gets a letter from her overseas boyfriend, informing her that he has found a new love. At just the moment she realizes she has been rejected, the phone rings. It's a dinner invitation from a womanizer who thinks he is talking to one of Norah's two female roommates. Depressed and vulnerable, Norah impulsively accepts the invitation, on her own behalf. This is the setup for "The Blue Gardenia", set in the early 50s, a film with a good beginning and some really high-powered Hollywood talent.

The screenplay, with its contrived plot, and director Fritz Lang's ambivalent direction render a flawed production. The film's tone, expressed both in the B&W cinematography and in the music, tends to seesaw back and forth between romance and mystery. But, the film can still be enjoyable to viewers looking for a murder-mystery/romance combo that is not overly complex. The easy to follow plot moves along unencumbered by the confusion wrought by multi-layered plot gimmicks so common in today's films.

The film's ending is one for the books. In all the mystery films I have watched, I don't recall a murder investigation being wrapped up so easily as this one. It's way too neat and too tidy to be credible. The film's 88-minute run time leaves a lot of room for additional material. Expansion of the film's final Act could have provided a more realistic and satisfying ending.

I really liked seeing Raymond Burr and Ann Sothern. The film also sports some clever dialogue. With its interesting premise, "The Blue Gardenia", despite a flawed script, will likely appeal to viewers looking for a melodramatic film with a nostalgic setting, wherein the plot is straightforward. Viewers looking for a topnotch script and/or a complex storyline with lots of plot twists and subtlety will need to look elsewhere.


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