Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.
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
The film was completed in just twenty days. See more »
Perhaps unaware that his hands on the keyboard are visible in the mirror behind him, Nat 'King' Cole plays a strikingly different piano arrangement of "Blue Gardenia" than the one we are hearing. See more »
A Letter to an Unknown Murderess. Dear Blue Gardenia, Any day now, any hour... any minute, the police are going to catch up with you... But, all they want is a quick confession... I want to help you. When I say "I", that means my newspaper and me. To us you're a story... a big story! If we get it first we will go all out for you. You can trust me. And, I promise not to print a line without your permission. By now you must be frightened out of your wits. You don't know which way to turn, there's...
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The likable Richard Conte makes a great news reporter here, and Anne Baxter as the woman in trouble is pitch perfect. In fact, Baxter's two sidekicks are also right on, Jeff Donnell (a woman, really sharp) and Ann Southern. It's a good story, a little forced, but with lots of atmosphere at the right times (including a scene with the real Nat King Cole playing and singing).
What holds the movie back is a mixture of basic story line, which lacks velocity and credibility equally, and direction, which doesn't heighten what is really strong here. That is, a great cast, and some great situations (including murder). Fritz Lang, the director, is accountable, of course, for some judgements that let things loosen up too much, and for the cute but abrupt ending. There are some characters that got developed in the beginning that don't get a chance to blossom. If we just focus on the two leads (no counting Raymond Burr, who has a brief and different kind of presence), there is a chemistry not quite clicking. Nice, regular guy Conte and slightly sophisticated Baxter don't quite match up, even though both are convincing individually.
There is some talent behind the scenes here worth mention, especially cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, who has done a whole slew of great small movies with astonishing visuals. Lang uses him well, though with a studied restraint that almost implies this was a throwaway effort. It comes between two of his greatest American movies, however: Clash by Night and The Big Heat. It's worth a look, a good movie not quite a noir by usual measures, but filled with intrigue and a little touch of welcome romance.
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