Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Assistant district attorney Wendell Corey is hanging out one night at the office drunk as a skunk, brooding over his father-in-law not liking him (maybe because he'd rather get stinking drunk at work than go home to his wife and children???), when in walks Barbara Stanwyck.  She wants to file a complaint about some creepers creeping around her wealthy aunt's estate.  Wendell naturally takes an instant liking to Barbara and presses her into going out for a drink with her.  So starts their affair.

Things go okay for a few weeks with them sneaking off to be together, but then one night when an intruder murders the aunt during a botched robbery things quickly go from bad to worse when Barbara is arrested for the murder (she's also the rich aunt's sole heir) and Wendell is appointed the prosecutor.  Could it just be a case of bad luck or has Barbara been stringing him along the whole time?  I'm sure you can probably guess.

After a slow start TFOTJ really takes off.  I had a great time watching Barbara Stanwyck...but not so much Wendell Corey.  He's a fine actor, but he just doesn't have the on-screen charisma to stand toe-to-toe with somebody like Stanwyck.  And that's the biggest problem I had with the film.  Supposedly Barbara is head over heels in love with Wendell but it's just sooo unbelievable.  The filmmakers would have been much better casting somebody else.  Fred MacMurray would have been an excellent choice since he did so well with Barbara in the similar DOUBLE INDEMNITY.  Burt Lancaster would have been a good choice also.  Another thing that I found distracting was Wendell constantly complaining about his wife, except for the fact...she's really hot and waaay out of his league.  

Complaints about Wendell Corey's miscasting aside, I thought THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON was a entertaining film.  Nice photography, quick pace, exciting courtroom scenes and Barbara Stanwyck looking absolutely as radiant as ever.  I'd definitely watch it again.  Recommended for classic film fans.
 Uncredited Kenneth Tobey on the left as a policeman.

Those are some awfully big doors.