The Blue Gardenia

The Blue Gardenia ★★★½

A lesser noir from Fritz Lang partly due to structure. Takes a while to get going, quite a lot of it feels somewhat familiar in the tricks to escalate conflict, and its resolution is a little too abrupt for my tastes. But I can't deny Lang's expressionist flourishes and grasp for detail. Anne Baxter does a wonderful job playing a character stuck in a hectic and harrowing circumstance, one that hinges its value not on logic but an emotional believability - something Baxter sells completely.

Fans might call it low-key, critics might call it conventional. I think it's a bit of both, retaining a lot of Lang's strengths though rarely meeting his higher standards as director.

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