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The Blue Gardenia

Screening on Film
Directed by Fritz Lang.
With Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern.
US, 1953, 16mm, black & white, 90 min.

When Peter Bogdanovich told Fritz Lang that he found The Blue Gardenia “a particularly venomous picture of American life,” Lang responded, laughing, “The only thing I can tell you is that it was the first picture after the McCarthy business... Maybe that’s what made me so venomous.” Lang himself evaded HUAC’s glare, but The Blue Gardenia certainly signals the director’s growing misgivings about American media with its characters drawn from the ranks of newspaper men and telephone operators. Shot in just over four weeks, the film inaugurates the minimalist technique of Lang’s late style, with little more than Nat King Cole’s title ballad needed to signal an inescapable fate. A central text for feminist film critics, The Blue Gardenia’s ambiguous murder story is finally inextricable from its stark depiction of sexual politics in fifties’ America.

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The Complete Fritz Lang

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The Dark Worlds of Fritz Lang – Part Two

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