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.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.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.
Besides the hypnotic melody, the interplay among the three room mates, Norah Larkin (Anne Baxter), Crystal Carpenter (Ann Sothern), and Sally Ellis (Jeff Donnell), represents the apex of this enjoyable Fritz Lang outing, not as dour as many of his films, wrapped in Sturm und Drang, tended to be. If "The Blue Gardenia" is to be classified at all, it would possibly be labeled lighter Noir.
Of the interplay between the room mates, Ann Sothern as Crystal with her biting wit and mock delivery, is the highlight. On the other hand, both Crystal and Jeff Donnell as Sally are sounding boards (sort of a Greek chorus) for troubled and tormented Anne Baxter as Norah.
In one of his final roles as a heavy, Raymond Burr as Harry Prebble shows the viewer what a versatile actor he could be. As womanizer, woman-hater Harry Prebble, he convincingly conveys to the audience the loathsome qualities of such a creature. Sex is power and domination, an ego enhancer, not pleasurable or loving in any way except to provide sweet loving lies to permit the conquest. Norah Larkin gives in to this sexual predator in a moment of weakness following the receipt of a Dear John letter from her sweetheart overseas. Prebble, true to form, proceeds to get Norah drunk at The Blue Gardenia as a prelude to seduction. In the process of attempting to woo her with words in his apartment, Prebble becomes more forceful when Norah revives long enough to realize Prebble's true intentions. When she awakes in the morning she finds Prebble dead. Norah has only a hazy recollection of a poker being swung and a mirror shattering. All else is blank.
Assigned to the investigation is Police Capt.Sam Haynes (George Reeves of TV "Superman" fame, showing all the earmarks of a great actor before being typecast on television), who seeks to wrap the case up quickly by apprehending the mystery lady who was seen with Prebble at The Blue Gardenia just before his death. A newspaper reporter, Casey Mayo (Richard Conte), sees a chance for a big story that might jump start his career as a journalist. The media begins to tout the mystery lady as the tantalizing "Blue Gardenia."
"The Blue Gardenia" has all the marks of a great murder mystery in the tradition of "Laura," written by the same person, Vera Caspary. But for some reason, lack of money, lack of time, Fritz Lang wraps the entire project up much too soon. The ending is so abrupt that it appears thrown together as if in the middle of a scene the director yells out, "Wrap it up," and leaves the set. Yet, that's the only major flaw in the film. Otherwise, watch and enjoy.
- Jul 25, 2006