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Film Noir: The Blue Gardenia (1953)

Directed by : Fritz Lang

Based on a story by: Vera Caspary

Screenplay by: Charles Hoffman

Actors: Ann Baxter, Ann Southern, Raymond Burr



Nora (Baxter) has no idea she is about to become a femme fatal. Her life is far from noir.

Working as a telephone operator and living with two friends, Nora has her life planned. She is engaged to be married to her fiance, as soon as he returns from the Korean War.

On the eve of her birthday, she dresses up, after cooking herself a special meal, opens a bottle of champagne and enjoys her solo night with a picture of her fiance set on the table.

She opens the latest letter from her fiances expecting words of love, instead he breaks up with her. He has fallen in love with a nurse working in Korea.

This is where the film becomes interesting…

Nora’s friends are out for the evening, so she sits and cries alone. But, then the phone rings. It’s sketch artist Harry Prebble (Burr), looking for her roommate Crystal (Southern), and he mistakes Nora’s voice for hers.

Still in a state of shock, she excepts a date with Prebble and meets him at the Blue Gardenia Restaurant. Prebble is at first confused that Nora is there and not Crystal, but he considers himself a lady’s man and up for the challenge.

Drinks flow. Nora’s drunk and back at Prebble’s apartment. He puts the moves on her. Nora pushes him away. Prebble become increasingly aggressive. Nora defends herself by hitting him hard, with a poker stick  from the fireplace.

Nora passes out. When she wakes up she is so terrified, she runs from the apartment forgetting her shoes.

She later reads of Prebble’s death, in the newspaper. Is Nora a killer?

Filmed in: California