A tight little thriller with an appealing star in the center, Lucky Jordan is a satisfying mash-up of several genres, including the gangster picture, a film noir, and an espionage thriller. As that, it works.
A gangster enlists in the Army, goes AWOL with top secret information, and is chased by Nazis, gangsters, and goons for the info.
Sitting pretty amidst the bustling commerce of New York, Jordan (Alan Ladd) has plenty of enemies, but he also has a revolving door of paid “doubles” that pose as him to be his human shield whenever an attempt on his life is made. He’s a well-liked gangster – particularly with the ladies – but after years of dodging the draft, he realizes that perhaps his best way of avoiding being assassinated by his competition is to enlist, and so off he goes to boot camp. He’s terrible as a soldier, and he enrages his superiors by being lazy, condescending, and insubordinate, and so he goes AWOL, but not before swiping some top secret intel, which he has no idea is a powder keg if it were to ever be released. While on the run, he befriends a beautiful woman in the service named Jill (Helen Walker) who tries to help him, but being the selfish gambler that he is, Jordon ends up back in New York where his stomping grounds are teeming with thugs, spies, and Nazis who want nothing more than to obtain the top secret papers he’s got and to snuff out his life. With precious few allies left to rely on, Jordan must tread carefully and realize that if he’s going to clear his name and stay alive, he’ll have to make a stand for his country and step up as a true soldier on the side of right, which means he’ll need to start acting like one of the good guys.
A tight little thriller with an appealing star in the center, Lucky Jordan is a satisfying mash-up of several genres, including the gangster picture, a film noir, and an espionage thriller. As that, it works. Ladd acts tough and gets physical quite a bit (including getting smacked around real good when he’s outnumbered several times), and the film’s direction by Frank Tuttle is perfectly fitting for fans of this type of picture.
Kino Lorber brings Lucky Jordan to high definition for the first time, and the transfer is from a new HD master from a 2K scan of the 35mm fine grain, which looks and sounds top notch. The disc includes the trailer, and a commentary by a film historian.