The File on Thelma Jordan

Released Jan. 18, 1950: THE FILE ON THELMA JORDAN, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, and Paul Kelly. Directed by Robert Siodmak (The Dark Mirror, Cry of the City, Criss Cross). TheFileOnThelmaJordanWendell Corey is a small-town assistant district attorney who is unhappy in his marriage and becomes romantically involved with Barbara Stanwyck, who is visiting her ailing aunt (Gertrude Hoffman). The first half of the film is devoted to their passionate secret romance, but things become desperate when Hoffman is murdered during an apparent burglary and Stanwyck is suspected of the crime. To complicate matters, it seems she has a shadowy accomplice (Richard Rober) who is indirectly involved, but cannot be found by police. This is a respectable noir from Robert Siodmak, one of the pre-eminent directors of classic noir films, with an interesting, albeit rather unoriginal, story and a strong performance by Stanwyck. Although Corey is not one of Hollywod’s most outwardly charismatic actors, he generates enough chemistry with Stanwyck to propel the story and keep the viewer involved. Corey is actually quite funny and charming in the opening scene in which his character is falling-down drunk. Unfortunately, the script tries very hard to make Stanwyck a sympathetic con artist with a heart, giving us a watered-down femme fatale, which takes much of the sting out of the story. Even her speech to Corey at the end of the film feels more like syrupy melodrama than noir. But in spite of this, Stanwyck is a delight to watch and there are enough twists and turns in the plot to make this film worth viewing. We give The File on Thelma Jordan 3.5 out of 5 fedoras.

3.5 Fedoras

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