The File on Thelma Jordon

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The File on Thelma Jordon
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay by Ketti Frings
Story by Marty Holland
Starring Barbara Stanwyck
Wendell Corey
Paul Kelly
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography George Barnes
Edited by Warren Low
Hal Wallis Productions
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • January 18, 1950 (1950-01-18) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The File on Thelma Jordon is a 1950 film noir directed by Robert Siodmak from a screenplay by Ketti Frings. It stars Barbara Stanwyck and Wendell Corey.[1]


Thelma Jordon shows up late one night in the office of married assistant district attorney Cleve Marshall with a story about prowlers and burglars. Before Cleve can stop himself, he and Thelma are involved in a love affair. But Thelma is a mysterious woman, and Cleve can't help wondering if she is hiding something.

When her rich Aunt Vera is found shot, Jordon calls not the police but Marshall, who helps her cover up evidence that may incriminate her. When she emerges as the prime suspect, Marshall sabotages the prosecution. Thelma Jordon is acquitted. Her past, however, has begun to catch up with her.

Jordon acknowledges that there is a relationship with Tony Laredo, who conceived the scheme for her to commit murder and inherit Vera's jewels and money. Unable to deal with her guilty conscience, Jordon causes a car accident that results in her accomplice's death and her own injury. As she lies dying herself, Jordon confesses the truth to the district attorney. She does not incriminate Marshall, who nevertheless tenders his resignation.



Critical response

When the film was released, the staff at Variety magazine praised the film, and wrote, "Thelma Jordon unfolds as an interesting, femme-slanted melodrama, told with a lot of restrained excitement. Scripting [from a story by Marty Holland] is very forthright, up to the contrived conclusion, and even that is carried off successfully because of the sympathy developed for the misguided and misused character played by Wendell Corey ... Robert Siodmak's direction pinpoints many scenes of extreme tension."[2]

Time Out film guide notes, "A fine film noir which works an ingenious, intricate variation on the situation in Double Indemnity, but which takes its tone, unlike Wilder's film, not from Stanwyck's glittering siren who courts her own comeuppance ("Judgement day, Jordon!"), but from the nondescript assistant DA she drives to the brink of destruction."[3]

The New York Times, in a 1950 review, gave a mixed review and noted "Thelma Jordon is, for all of its production polish, adult dialogue and intelligent acting, a strangely halting and sometimes confusing work."[4]


  1. ^ The File on Thelma Jordon on IMDb.
  2. ^ Variety, film review, 1950. Last accessed: April 16, 2008.
  3. ^ Time Out Film Guide, film review, 2008.
  4. ^ The New York Times, film review, 1950.

External links

Streaming audio

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