Film: The Blue Gardenia

The Blue Gardenia is a 1953 film noir directed by Fritz Lang. Norah, a young working woman played by Anne Baxter, gets a breakup letter from her soldier boyfriend and goes out for a night on the town. After a number of strong drinks, she goes home with a womanizing lech, Harry Prebble, and wakes up in his apartment with his dead body. Guilt-ridden hijinks ensue as Casey Mayo, local reporter, tries to track down woman responsible for this sensational crime.


The film contains examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Prebble gets Norah drunk, then takes her back to his apartment and basically tries to rape her. He's hard to feel bad for.
  • "Dear John" Letter: Norah's tailspin starts when she gets a letter from her fiance fighting in Korea, stating that he's fallen in love with an Army nurse.
  • Eureka Moment: Mayo has one while sitting in the airport after Norah's arrest, when he hears the song that was playing when the police found the body, which was not the one Norah said she killed him to.
  • False Confession: Mayo gets heaps of phone calls from women claiming to be the Blue Gardenia, but none of them have the right information about the case.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: It's really more like self-defense, so there's lots of sympathy to be had for Norah. The actual killer is almost as sympathetic—Prebble claimed he would marry her, and then went back on his word.
  • There Are No Police: Actually, there are police, but Casey Mayo gets more done with the power of reporting.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Played for Drama with Norah being too blackout drunk to know for sure whether she killed Harry Prebble.