You Don’t Know Which Way to Turn, There’s No Place to Hide, Nowhere to run…: The Blue Gardenia (1953)

“By now you must be frightened out of your wits. You don’t know which way to turn, there’s no place to hide, nowhere to run… except to me. So take my advice, Blue Gardenia. Go to the nearest phone booth and invest a dime on the rest of your life.”

So I watched this movie years ago on TCM. I remember loving it and trying to find it again to watch, but every time they played it again they never showed it at a time I could watch it.

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The other day I was shelving at the library and found it, I immediately had to check it out and watch it again to see if it is as good as I remember.

The film starts off with a jaunty tune as we follow reporter Casey Mayo (Richard Conte) as he heads to a phone company for a story. There he runs into Harry Prebble (Raymond Burr), artist and player.

Ugh

Yes, Harry is always coming by and using the phone operators as “models”, starting with sketching, then taking them out to a fancy dinner and plying them with drinks, later taking them home.

Harry has his eye on Crystal Carpenter (Ann Sothern), but she’s not buying it. She let him draw her but refuses anything else as she is dating her ex-husband.

Harry turns to Crystal’s roommate, Norah Larkin (Anne Baxter), but she has eyes only for her long-term boyfriend who is a soldier in the Korean War.

That night Crystal, Norah, and their other roommate Sally Ellis, continue their plans for the night. Crystal is going out with her ex-husband, Sally is getting the newest Mickey Mallet novel and going to read it.

For Norah, she has something very special planned. It’s her birthday and she has a letter from her boyfriend. She can’t have him here for the celebration she really wants-so she does the next best thing. She bought a new dress, made a roast, and bought champagne to go with it.

Yay!

After her roommates leave, Nora gets everything ready and then opens the letter.

Dear Norah, You’ve probably learned by now that I’m not so hot as a letter writer. I remember when we were kids in Bakersfield and I worked vacations in San Joaquin Valley. You used to bawl me out for not writing. Well, I guess I’ve gotten worse. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about you… a lot. And also thinking about someone else, Norah. A nurse I met in Tokyo when I took a load of Commie shrapnel with me. Angela, that’s her name, supplied the strength and the courage and everything else to pull me through. I didn’t want it to happen but… there’s nothing a guy can do about the real McCoy, and that’s what this is. We’re in love. And when I get out we’re going to be married. That’s the story, Norah. And, I guess there’s nothing else to say except I hope you’ll understand. With affection, always… and best wishes for your future. “Best wishes for your future”. Yours very sincerely. Yours very… truly.

Oh MY GOSH…seriously????? This is the real McCoy? So all those times you said I love you it was a lie!!!???  What a major jerk!!! And ON HER BIRTHDAY!!!!

Norah is upset and doesn’t know what to do. The phone rings and she answers it. It is Harry calling to ask Crystal out. Norah tries to tell him that she’s not Crystal, but he doesn’t listen to her. Norah decides to take Harry up on his offer and goes down to The Blue Gardenia restaurant. There Harry is waiting with Polynesian Pearl Diverswhich has like three different kinds of rum in it and Harry asks for extra rum.

Casey Mayo sees Harry there and they say a quick hello as Casey goes on the prowl for his own dame.

Harry is surprised to see Nora, but in his mind one beautiful girl is just as good as another. Norah enjoys the drinking as she wants to forget the beginning of the night ever happened. Harry supplies lots and lots of drinks and Norah keeps on drinking. She is extremely wasted.

Its just what Harry wants, and he asks her to come to his place for a party with friends.

Yes his friends rum, rohypnol, and rape.

They get to his place and he shows her his pictures. It actually reminds me of Blackmail. While there Norah is starting to nod off, Harry puts on the song The Blue Gardenia and gives her coffee. Coffee that tastes odd to Norah.

Harry starts to put the moves on Norah as she starts to question where the friends are. When he goes on her she attacks him, pulls away, breaks the mirror, and…fade to black.

The next morning all the girls are up and early, except Norah. She has a headache and a hangover. The girls think she went out drinking as they both read her letter. Norah can’t remember anything.

The police start investigating Harry’s death. The maid has already started cleaning up before she fund the body and washed two sets of dishes-no dice on DNA. All they have to go on is black suede heels size 5. And that she was a beautiful blonde-Harry’s type.

Casey directs the police to the phone company, knowing that where Harry found his ladies. He heads to the newspaper office, hit with the fantastic idea of calling her “The Blue Gardenia” after the song and the restaurant.

They question girl after girl, Norah becoming more and more upset with each one, more afraid as bits of the previous night come back to her piece by piece.

She can remember being there and if she was there that night she must have murdered him. Se continues to grow restless and snappish, having her friends and roommates questioning her.

Then Casey gets told he will have to be sent elsewhere to report on something, but he wants to see the Blue Gardenia play out. He gets the idea from a joke of a coworker to write a letter and see if she will speak to him.

A Letter to an Unknown Murderess. Dear Blue Gardenia, Any day now, any hour… any minute, the police are going to catch up with you… But, all they want is a quick confession… I want to help you. When I say “I”, that means my newspaper and me. To us you’re a story… a big story! If we get it first we will go all out for you. You can trust me. And, I promise not to print a line without your permission. By now you must be frightened out of your wits. You don’t know which way to turn, there’s no place to hide, nowhere to run… except to me. So take my advice, Blue Gardenia. Go to the nearest phone booth and invest a dime on the rest of your life. Dial Madison 60025. And ask for, yours very earnestly, Casey Mayo.

Norah decides to answer. But will she end up in prison? Could a nice girl who has never done wrong have to spend a lifetime paying for a mistake?

Didn’t realize that the film was so close to Blackmail. It had similarities with the painting scene and walking at night in the fog, regretful.

A great movie, just as good as I remember and well worth watching.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006)

For more film-noir, go to Go Ahead and Shoot…As Far As Killing Me, Well, I Don’t Think You’re That Good a Shot: Possessed (1947)

For more Anne Baxter, go to Oh, Moses, Moses: Happy 60th Anniversary to The Ten Commandments

For more on Ann Southern, go to Which Husband Ran Off With Addie Ross?: A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

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Oh, Moses, Moses: Happy 60th Anniversary to The Ten Commandments

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So this past Sunday I decided to celebrate Easter/Passover in the best way I could think of. Going to the movies to see the rerelease of The Ten Commandments for it’s 60th anniversary.

It originally came out on October 5th 1956, but as I will be doing Horrorfest, and they rereleased it this week, I felt it was better to review now.

This was actually my first time watching the film.

OMG gasp

I know? How could a cinephile like me miss it? Well my mom tried to get me to watch it with her back when I was five, but my attention span was strong enough. Since then I never got around to seeing it. However, it was sooooo amazing I just can’t believe I missed viewing it before.

I love it

This movie is what The Price of Egypt is based on, but it is waaaaaay better. The tried to carefully follow the story in the bible along with other historical documents. The special effects they had were amazing for the time, the sets magnificent, and the actor unbelievable.

Wow

Wow

The film took four years to make, 13 million dollars, and was Cecille B. DeMille’s last film.

Every year since 1973, ABC airs this film on Easter, or Passover. In 1999, when they chose not to they received so many irate phone calls from people than they have for any other film they have ever telecast. I will say I think it has become my new Easter tradition.

AWESOME!!!

AWESOME!!!

This film was the highest grossing film, after Gone With the Wind (1939), until The Sound of Music (1965). It was the highest grossing religious film until The Passion of the Christ (2004)This is currently the 7th highest grossing film of all time.

keanu Whoa

So we have the two main leads who were just phenomenal. First we have Yul Brynner as Rameses II, the pharaoh believed to live at the time of Moses. Brynner played the role as a jealous brother, which some may think Ralph Fiennes was better and more brotherly, but I think it was spot on. For those who don’t know history, the game of who would get the throne could get ugly.

There is no middle ground.

There is no middle ground.

The Pharaoh would typically marry his nearest female relation to keep the blood pure; and then marry other wives/concubines. The wives and kids would battle each other in order to gain favor and the throne. In fact Rameses II had over 100 children, outlived most of his children due to their killing each other, and their mothers plots against each other (plus a few accidental deaths and illnesses.)

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

When Brynner found out he would be playing against Charlton Heston, he really worked out in order to prove that he deserved the role

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And then we have the very hunky Charlton Heston. I mean you look at him and hear his voice, and you can see why every girl wanted him.

If he existed.

Not only did he make Moses a total action hero; but also presented the spiritual side beautifully.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

Heston wasn’t the original choice, but was later picked because he bore a similarity to Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses.

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And let’s not forget that Vincent Price is the amazing, sinister, and sleazy master builder. Even if his character is horrible, I love him.

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The rest of the actors were just as good; along with the sets, and the extravagant costumes. This was just a phenomenal film that everyone needs to view at least once in their lives.

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For more anniversary posts, go to We Wish You a Merry Christmas

For more on Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston, go to The Greatest Show on Earth

For more Vincent Price, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)