Throughout her career, Barbara Stanwyck proved that she was an actress who could do it all in terms of delivering a strong acting performance. Excelling in comedies, dramas, and romances, Stanwyck continued to propel her career forward into a new decade in the film noir The File on Thelma Jordon (1950).
The film tells the story of Thelma Jordon who invites Assistant District Attorney Cleve Marshall out for a drink. They soon initiate a romance, despite the fact that Marshall is married with children. Though he finds Jordon alluring, she possesses an aura of mystery that causes him to think that she is potentially hiding aspects of her identity and life from him.
When her wealthy aunt is shot, Jordon calls Marshall instead of contacting the police and he helps cover up evidence that could incriminate her. When she is found to be a top suspect and is placed under arrest, Marshall works to help her, even while her past seems to be catching up with her and truths are suddenly brought to the foreground.
The cast members of this film are as follows:
- Barbara Stanwyck as Thelma Jordon
- Wendell Corey as Cleve Marshall
- Paul Kelly as Miles Scott
- Joan Tetzel as Pamela Marshall
- Stanley Ridges as Kingsley Willis
- Richard Rober as Tony Laredo
- Gertrude W. Hoffmann as Aunt Vera Edwards
- Kenneth Tobey as Police Photographer (uncredited)
When the film was released, it garnered high praise from critics and was a success for Paramount Pictures, its distributor. The film was directed by Robert Siodmak and produced by Hal B. Wallis through Hal Wallis Productions, with a screenplay by Ketti Frings and story by Marty Holland. The vast majority of the film’s positive reviews were due to Stanwyck’s performance in this melodrama that focuses upon the lead female character.
Stanwyck’s fine portrayal of a complex character is able to elicit a broad array of emotions from audiences and is without a doubt at the core of this film’s triumph.