Lucky Jordan (1942)
Director: Frank Tuttle
Cast: Alan Ladd, Helen Walker, Sheldon Leonard
Synopsis: Lucky Jordan, cynical gambler and racketeer, finds one thing his luck and connections can’t fix: the draft board…
Lucky Jordan is a pretty inoffensive comedy which suddenly decides it’s anti-Nazi propaganda in its final reel. Alan Ladd plays the title character, a hot-shot gangster who finds himself unable to avoid the draft and so decides he will simply lounge around the base canteen until his hapless lawyer can get him out. Trouble is, his attitude gets him into the stockade, from which he escapes, inadvertently taking some military secrets with him. He then spends most of the rest of the film negotiating with a double-crossing sidekick (the terrific Sheldon Leonard) to sell the secrets – until his conscience is pricked by the vivacious Helen Walker.
There’s nothing particularly clever about Lucky Jordan – although I liked Ladd’s barbed rejection of his duplicitous secretary’s invitation to visit her in her apartment sometime (“no thanks, I don’t like crowds” – Lord knows how that sneaked past the censor) – but, after some slow scenes, it picks up the pace and delivers a few bright moments. Ladd shows himself to be quite adept at comedy – a genre for which he isn’t really noted – and finds an attractive leading lady in Miss Walker. Despite this, it’s Sheldon Leonard who steals the film as Ladd’s duplicitous sidekick.
(Reviewed 17th June 2009)