Synopsis

Storyline:
Cleve Marshall is an assistant district attorney who falls for the shadowy Thelma Jordon. With her sordid past — and her relationship with thief Tony Laredo kept secret from the married attorney, Jordon seduces the easily swayed Marshall, and uses him to cover up her misdeeds. When Jordon becomes the prime suspect for the murder of her wealthy aunt, she turns to Marshall, who goes to great lengths to clear her name.
User Reviews: I’m no good for any man for any longer than a kiss!rnrnThe File on Thelma Jordon is directed by Robert Siodmak and written by Ketti Frings and Marty Holland. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Paul Kelly, Joan Tetzel, Stanley Ridges and Richard Rober. Music is by Victor Young and cinematography by George Barnes.rnrnAssistant district attorney Cleve Marshall (Corey) falls for Thelma Jordon (Stanwyck) after she seeks help solving a problem with prowlers and burglars. But is there more to Thelma than meets the eye?rnrnProbably due to availability issues in home viewing formats, this appears to be one of film noir legends Siodmak and Stanwyck’s under seen pictures. Which is a shame, for although it is often tagged as something of a lesser value Double Indemnity, it’s a noir that noir lovers can get great rewards from.rnrnAs we are in noirville the plot isn’t at all surprising. Stanwyck fronts up for what we expect is femme fatale duty, Corey looks to be on course for being a hapless loser dude, Kelly is up for some tough copper portrayal, while Rober stalks the edges of the frame as bad news bloke. A despicable crime is at the core of the story, and characterisations are straight out of the dark alleyway (Thelma has murky secrets and ideals, Wendell is unhappily married with a drink problem). Running at 100 minutes in length, the pic does feel a touch too long, especially given that the first thirty minutes is focused on building the principal players, where they are at in their life and the build up of their relationship. This asks for faith in staying with the piece, in hope it rewards for the following hour plus. Thankfully it does.rnrnAs the crime arrives, we are treated to noir nirvana as per style of film making. It’s the middle of the night in a house menaced by shadows as the wind bashes an open window shutter. For a good twenty minutes, prior to – during – and post the crime, the house is a scary monstrous place, perfect for a dark deed to be enacted. The great Siodmak (The Killers, The Spiral Staircase, Criss Cross) is in his element on this, where aided by the superb photographic skills of Barnes (Rebecca, Force of Evil), the staging of scenes and the visuals enhance the moody machinations of the plot. As does Young’s dramatic musical score. So with acting performances comfortably on par for the good the tech credits are high.rnrnIrks come with that drawn out first third of film, and the ending poses some question marks as well. Personally I would have liked it to have finished five minutes earlier, but as it stands there’s a sort of double whammy with the finale. Some will find it contrived, others will applaud the ultimate outcome since it doesn’t cop out. Either way, this is a noir film worthy of seeking out for the like minded purveyors of such things. 7/10

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