The Blue Gardenia

  • 1953
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Mystery

Baxter accepts a blind date with Burr after receiving a "Dear Jane" letter from her fiance in Korea. After drinking too much, Baxter returns with Burr to his apartment. When he attempts to seduce her, Baxter reaches for a poker in panic, clubs Burr unconscious, and flees. The next morning, she learns that Burr has been beaten to death and believes herself...read more

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Baxter accepts a blind date with Burr after receiving a "Dear Jane" letter from her fiance in Korea. After drinking too much, Baxter returns with Burr to his apartment. When he attempts to seduce her, Baxter reaches for a poker in panic, clubs Burr unconscious, and flees. The next morning,

she learns that Burr has been beaten to death and believes herself to be the killer. When newsman Conte begins writing open letters to the murderess in his paper, Baxter calls him, posing as a friend of the killer. They meet several times at Hollywood's Blue Gardenia restaurant and fall in love.

Conte convinces Baxter to confess, believing her guilty. Then he meets Storey, whom police find barely alive after a botched suicide attempt. She admits that she arrived at Burr's apartment after Baxter left, telling him that she was pregnant with his child. When he refused to marry her, she

clubbed him to death with the poker. Conte and Baxter end up together because the real killer is charged with Burr's death. This is one of Fritz Lang's weaker efforts in film noir, although his great visual style is evident in every scene; the thin script, cliched lines, and predictable plot

twists limit the master filmmaker. Lang focuses on Baxter, encircling her with his camera, closing in, like the long arm of the law reaching out for her. It's a commendable job, aided by Baxter's standout performance, but this film nowhere approaches Lang's memorable THE BIG HEAT, CLASH BY NIGHT,

and HUMAN DESIRE. Musuraca's lensing is high-key and sometimes flat. Lingering long after the fading plotline is the unforgettable song "Blue Gardenia" sung by the great Nat "King" Cole with an arrangement by Nelson Riddle.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Baxter accepts a blind date with Burr after receiving a "Dear Jane" letter from her fiance in Korea. After drinking too much, Baxter returns with Burr to his apartment. When he attempts to seduce her, Baxter reaches for a poker in panic, clubs Burr unconsc… (more)

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