Miss Blandish (Linden Travers), a sheltered heiress, is targeted for a simple robbery by a cheap thug who ultimately involves two groups of rival gangsters, their goal being her diamond jewellery worth $100,000. The robbery is botched when Riley (Richard Nielson) kills her bridegroom and the three would-be robbers decide to kidnap Miss Blandish for ransom instead (her father is worth $100 million).
The three original kidnappers are killed, and Blandish ends up the captive of the Bailey gang. Her father puts a private detective on the case. The rival Grisson gang, led by Ma Grisson (Lilli Molnar), intends to collect the ransom and kill Blandish rather than take the risk of releasing her. Meanwhile, Slim Grisson (Jack La Rue) and Blandish fall in love and plan on running off together.
Blandish sends the diamonds to her father with a note saying she is in love with Slim, but he refuses to believe it. Ma Grisson is shot by rival gangsters when she cannot get Slim to the phone. The police surround the cabin where Slim and Miss Blandish are holed up and gun Slim down, "rescuing" the kidnap victim and returning her safely home. She throws herself from her balcony over the loss of Slim.Jack La Rue as Slim Grisson
Hugh McDermott as Dave Fenner
Linden Travers as Miss Blandish
Walter Crisham as Eddie Schultz
MacDonald Parke as Doc
Danny Green as Flyn
Lilli Molnar as Ma Grisson
Charles Goldner as Louis, Headwaiter
Zoe Gail as Margo
Leslie Bradley as Ted Bailey
Richard Neilson as Riley
Frances Marsden as Anna Borg
Michael Balfour as Barney
Bill O'Connor as Johnny
Jane Russell was sought for the leading role. The part was eventually played by Linden Travers.
The film was meant to be the first of eight films shot in Britain that were set in America. James Minter was the executive behind the idea.
Censors requested that a 45 second kiss be reduced to 20 seconds. They also requested a scene be reshot where a character was beaten to death, which cost the producers three thousand pounds.
The film caused enormous controversy on its release, because of the high levels of violence that had got past the film censors. Though made with a largely British cast, it was set in New York, with the actors often struggling with their American accents.
No Orchids for Miss Blandish received strong criticism for its treatment of violence and sexuality. Cliff Goodwin says that it was "unanimously dubbed 'the worst film ever made'" by British reviewers. The Monthly Film Bulletin called it "the most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen". The Observer reviewer, C. A. Lejeune, described the film as "this repellent piece of work" that "scraped up all the droppings of the nastier type of Hollywood movie". The Sunday Express film reviewer called No Orchids for Miss Blandish "the worst film I have ever seen". The British film critic Derek Winnert quotes reviewer Dilys Powell as writing that the film should be ‘branded with a “D” certificate for disgusting’. The Australian newspaper The Age also gave a harsh review: "No Orchids for Miss Blandish is not only a disgrace to the studio that made it, but it also reflects on the British industry as a whole...the entire production is unpardonable". The film was also denounced by the Bishop of London, William Wand, and several UK politicians, including Edith Summerskill. Despite this condemnation, the film was commercially successful.
More recent critics have been equally dismissive, though for different reasons. Leslie Halliwell would later describe No Orchids for Miss Blandish as a "hilariously awful gangster film...one of the worst films ever made". Leonard Maltin in Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide states No Orchids for Miss Blandish "aspires to be a Hollywood film noir and misses by a mile".
A number of cinemas refused to show the film.
The film broke box office records in Britain in territories where it was not banned.
It was later remade as The Grissom Gang by Robert Aldrich in 1971.