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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

Richard Conte and Ruth Storey, who play prominent roles in this picture, were married in real life at the time. See more »

Goofs

It is stated that the record on the turntable was still playing when the body was discovered. This would not have happened because the turntable is a 'record changer' that automatically shuts off when the control arm is engaged and there are no more records in the stack. In the flashback sequence, Harry Prebble is shown activating the control arm. If it had been left disengaged (up and to the side) it would have played the record continuously as mentioned. See more »

Quotes

Casey Mayo: All right, now tell me just how you murdered Harry Prebble.
Woman on telephone: You know how I killed him! Do you want to know why? Because I loved him. With a passion that was bigger than both of us!
Casey Mayo: The size of the passion's important, lady. But tell me first, what size shoe do you wear?
Woman on telephone: Shoe? 8 1/2 C. I could wear 8, it's just that 8 1/2 is more comfortable.
Casey Mayo: Sorry, lady. But your feet's too big.
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

 
Stay away from those Polynesian Pearl Divers
30 August 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Anne Baxter is a young woman caught in a nightmare in "The Blue Gardenia," a 1953 film directed by Fritz Lang and also starring Ann Sothern, Raymond Burr, Richard Conte, George Reeves and Jane Connell. After being rejected by her soldier boyfriend, Baxter takes a phone call meant for roommate Sothern and meets ladies' man Raymond Burr for a date. She gets drunk on Polynesian Pearl Divers, has a blackout, and learns the next day that Burr has been murdered. Slowly it starts coming back to her.

This seems to have been a B movie - for some reason, Fritz Lang was relegated to Bs just before he left America. It's not up to Lang's standards either. The casting is questionable. You have to know something's amiss when Raymond Burr is cast as a Casanova. Baxter is lovely as the mixed up Norah, but she's no match for Ann Sothern's witty, knowing performance as her roommate. Sothern was one of the most delightful actresses in film and in television. Conte is okay as the reporter, but he really doesn't have much to do, and the role doesn't call on the biting toughness he often brought to roles. As the police detective, George Reeves doesn't make much of an impression - and just think, he's now being played by Ben Affleck in a movie about his mysterious death. Character actress Jeff Donnell, who became familiar to audiences on "General Hospital," is Sothern's and Baxter's roommate.

"The Blue Gardenia" is a nightclub, and the theme song is sung by none other than Nat King Cole. One of the themes from "Tristan and Isolde," very popular in films in the '40s and '50s, is present here as well.

Alas, "The Blue Gardenia" doesn't register as a noir nor as a particularly interesting B.


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