african-american directors series: symbiopsychotaxiplasm: take one (willliam greaves, 1968)
music friday: 1988

geezer cinema: the file on thelma jordon (robert siodmak, 1949)

Run-of-the-mill noir that has many of the trappings of the genre, but seems to want to pass as a whodunit. By 1949, studios could put Barbara Stanwyck into a movie like this and coast on her presence to give a noir feel. But as written, Thelma Jordon isn't much of a femme fatale until the end of the movie, which means the film drags. Something like Double Indemnity shows us from the start that Stanwyck's character is no good, but here, Thelma comes across as a wronged woman, unjustly accused of murder, which gives the courtroom scenes at the end some interest, but it's more entertaining to watch a femme fatale at work, and so since Stanwyck isn't revealed until the end, the entertainment value is lessened.

It doesn't help that Wendell Corey is a drab male lead. I kept waiting for something to spark, but it never happened. There's nothing awful about The File on Thelma Jordon ... it's a passable time-waster. But I wouldn't go any higher than that.


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