review for The Blue Gardenia on AllMovie

The Blue Gardenia (1953)
by Tom Vick review

The Blue Gardenia contains one of the purest examples of Fritz Lang's ability to transform commonplace pieces of household technology (such as clocks and telephones) into engines of destiny. Norah Larkin (Anne Baxter), at a moment of weakness (she's just read a letter from her boyfriend breaking off their relationship), answers a phone call meant for someone else and finds herself on a blind date with Raymond Burr's sleazy Harry Prebble, who ends up dead at the end of the night. In interviews, Lang often dismissed this film as a job-for-hire, but its recurring image of the telephone as a sinister conduit of possibly fatal information (and misinformation) remains intriguing. Decked out in a wonderfully tacky 1950s milieu featuring a tiki bar with Nat "King" Cole on the bandstand, The Blue Gardenia subtly questions that decade's mass-produced cultural blandness by exposing the dark side that's never very far below the surface, at least in Lang's films.