RKS Retro Film: “The Blue Gardenia”

“The Blue Gardenia”, directed by Fritz Lang, was released in 1953 and Anne Baxter plays Norah Larkin, Richard Conte plays Casey Mayo and Raymond Burr as Harry Prebble.

This 60-year-old plus film remains watchable and is not stale. Norah is in love with marine George who is in Korea fighting in the Korean War. Norah decides to celebrate her birthday with table settings for two and a bottle of champagne and George’s picture at the table. Poor Norah opens a letter from George saying so sorry I have fallen in love with a nurse and will marry her. He writes “best wishes for your future”. Distraught she ends up with the lecherous Harry Prebbles at a Chinese restaurant called Blue Gardenia. Prebble sketches models. Prebbles loads up Norah with extra rum laced Polynesian Pearl Divers. Harry had ordered the waiter to make sure there was lots of rum in Norah’s drinks. He keeps on encouraging her to drink and she ends up plastered and had it not been so dastardly she plays a drunk almost comically. Things are sweetened with Nat King Cole performing “Blue Gardenia” in the restaurant. Smooth!

Prebbles takes up Norah to his apartment and attempts to rape her but she takes a poker and swings at Prebbles hitting and shattering a mirror. She stumbles home leaving a few clues one very Cinderellaish. She can’t remember much about the evening but the inference is that she killed Prebbles.  Prebbles is a “lady’s man” and there are no doubt hints of a very angry women yelling with Prebbles over the phone at the beginning of the film.

Norah begins to believe she is the murderer and big shot columnist Casey Mayo persuades her to come out in the open so she can spill the beans on what happened and gain some public sympathy. He may be a newspaper man but he has compassion.

And yes things turn out happily.

The theme of sexual assault carried out by professional predator is topical. The quest for a story is also a phenomenon today although newspapers are largely a thing of the past. Murders are hot news and always have been.

An enjoyable watch and you can catch the movie gratis on Tubi here https://tubitv.com/movies/575312/the-blue-gardenia?start=true

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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