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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The File on Thelma Jordan [Blu-ray]

 

(Robert Siodmak, 1950)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hal Wallis Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:31.025 

Disc Size: 22,238,232,436 bytes

Feature Size: 22,151,276,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 28th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 925 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 925 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Robert Siodmak (The Dark Mirror, The Killers). No one is as good as Barbara Stanwyck (No Man of Her Own) when she's bad - the legendary actress play Thelma Jordon, a woman who seduces the married Assistant District Attorney (Wendell Corey, Hell's Half Acre) and pulls him into a web of theft and murder. Her aunt's mansion is burglarized and the woman is murdered, Thelma calls the Assistant DA to help her cover up evidence that may incriminate her. When she emerges as the prime suspect, the infatuated Assistant DA tries to sabotages the prosecution. The File on Thelma Jordon is a romantic and unusual mystery with great performances and superior direction. Beautifully shot by George Barnes (Spellbound) with a haunting score by Victor Young (The Quiet Man).

 

 

The Film:

The File on Thelma Jordon is a 1950 film noir directed by noir veteran Director Robert Siodmak completed his amazing run of American noir classics with this underrated and currently grossly ignored gem. The File on Thelma Jordon isn’t a classic on the level of The Killers or Criss Cross but it’s way too close to be gathering dust in Paramount’s vaults largely unviewed, having never been released on either VHS or DVD to the general public. Worse yet, the film used to get regular airings back in the days when AMC was a legitimate, respectable classic film vehicle but it has completely disappeared from sight in recent years. This is the lamentable shame for many excellent Paramount noirs, but Thelma Jordon just might top the list of the ones that merit mass-market rediscovery, at least among classic film connoisseurs.

Excerpt from Carl at Film Noir of the Week located HERE

Thelma Jordan, the last film noir by Robert Siodmak is under-rated, and not because of Siodmak, whose lacklustre direction disappoints, but for the intelligent script and a bravura performance from Barbara Stanwyck, who plays Thelma, the woman with a past. I have deliberately not described her as a femme-fatale, as her character is multi-layered. She is trapped by her past but genuinely loves the DA who falls for her.

Noir determinism propels the story, which to a degree is melodramatic and contrived, but the pyschological elements and literate study of the dynamics of marriage and immaturity give the film more depth than most melodramas.

Excerpt from Tony D'Ambra at FilmNoir.Net located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Film On Thelma Jordan finally arrives on digital and Olive Films have transferred it to Blu-ray. It is fairly uneven with plenty of speckles but I'm not going to complain too much. Predictably bare-bones and single-layered the contrast levels can be somewhat erratic - but this is probably more the condition and/or density of the source. The bitrate is supportive and what this really needs is some form of restoration. But this 1080P is still very watchable. My only strong-ish complaint are the darker scenes about 1/3 in. It is hard to make out the detail but I wouldn't say it is fatal. The Blu-ray is likely the best we will get for a while and I certainly appreciated my viewing despite the inconsistencies.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master mono track at 925 kbps rises on a few occasions to prominence in the presentation. There are no effects per-se but the score, composed by Victor Young (Three Faces West, The Sun Shines Bright, Johnny Guitar, China Gate etc.), adds a wonderful shadowy atmosphere. There is no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer without flaws. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with almost all their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Delicious Noir with the 'Queen' Barbara Stanwyck. Her layered character IS the film and elevates The File on Thelma Jordan to its lofty status in the world of dark cinema. I expect after all this time awaiting the film that this Blu-ray (love the cover) is about as good as we are likely to get without a full restoration. I was thrilled to see it in 1080P and we give this a strong recommendation. Noir fans can consider this a 'must-own'. 

Gary Tooze

May 29th, 2013

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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