• Mr. Burr and the women: with Anne Baxter (left) and Ann Sothern (right)

With the possible exception of Secret Beyond the Door (1947), The Blue Gardenia (1953) is the only Fritz Lang movie that could be categorized as a women’s picture. The central characters are three single women navigating hazards of working life and the dating scene as they try to get by in Los Angeles. If Lang’s tough perspective sounds like an unusual fit for these characters, recall that even the resolutely macho Raoul Walsh directed a few women’s pictures around this time (The Man I Love and The Revolt of Mamie Stover) and acquitted himself just fine. In many ways, the women’s pictures of the immediate postwar era—which regard women’s issues as human issues and therefore significant to any storyteller or audience—seem more enlightened than the so-called chick flicks of today—which appeal to women as an exclusive demographic.