Thursday, December 26, 2013

Delicate flowers

The above is from the 1953 film The Blue Gardenia, directed by Fritz Lang. Of course it's a beautiful song performed by Nat King Cole, and yes, that's Raymond Burr at the table. Don't get too attached to him. He's a sleazy bachelor who brings the lady - played by Anne Baxter - back to his absurdly huge bachelor pad under false pretenses while she's drunk off her ass. Pretty much an attempted date rape ensues, he's dead the next morning, and she flees with big gaps in her memory. For Lang, who of course gave us M, this is a relatively light feature. It's not as harrowing and paranoid as classic noir could be. Still, there's grit under the glamour.

Southern has two roommates: a savvy model played by Ann Sothern and a goofball played by Jeff Donnell (a woman.) This makes her the least fun of the women as well as the lead, but she deals with it pretty well. The movie's secret weapon, though, is George Reeves. He's the police captain searching for the "Blue Gardenia killer", and he buffaloes through with a mixture of bonhomie and threat. He would go on to be the most avuncular of the live action Supermen, but he was imposing, physically and otherwise.

1 comment:

susan said...

We saw this movie a year or so ago when we went to the local video store hoping to find a copy of Blue Dahlia, the 1946 movie with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. It's famous as a noir film because it's the only screenplay written by Raymond Chandler. Unfortunately we still haven't found that one but Blue Gardenia was pretty cool for the reasons you mention.

More recently we saw The Score, a modern movie starring Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton with a surprise appearance by Mose Allison. Directed by Frank Oz, it's definitely one we'd recommend.