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Blu-Ray : For Fans Only
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Release Date: March 21st, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1942

Lucky Jordan

Overview -

Alan Ladd's first starring vehicle may be an awkward film noir-romcom-espionage hybrid, but it shows us why Ladd captivated audiences and went on to enjoy a lengthy career. Though hardly memorable, Lucky Jordan chronicles the transformation of a gangster from draft dodger to patriotic hero with just enough panache to maintain interest. A brand-new HD master struck from a 2K scan of the 35mm fine grain, solid audio, and a top-flight commentary enhance the appeal of this engaging rarity that's a treat for Golden Age aficionados. For Fans Only.

Screen great Alan Ladd (China, O.S.S., Calcutta, Shane) stars as a wise guy who finds himself in one predicament after another in Lucky Jordan. When he discovers that he can no longer avoid the draft, a self-serving New York racketeer (Ladd) fails at his half-hearted attempt at military life. He goes AWOL, stealing a car that happens to contain a briefcase full of valuable military plans. What follows is an escapade filled with Nazi spies, espionage, assassins, saboteurs…and a beautiful member of the WAC determined to reform the gangster. Directed by Frank Tuttle (This Gun for Hire) and co-starring Helen Walker (Murder, He Says), Lucky Jordan is tough…trigger mad…and terrific!


• Brand New HD Master – From a 2K Scan of the 35mm Fine Grain
NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Samm Deighan
• Theatrical Trailer
• Reversible Art

For Fans Only
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray Disc
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p AVC/MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono
English SDH
Special Features:
Theatrical Trailer
Release Date:
March 21st, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Aside from Shane and a trio of moody film noirs in the 1940s (This Gun for HireThe Glass Key, and The Blue Dahlia), Alan Ladd's career was largely undistinguished, but he worked steadily for two decades before his untimely death at age 50 in 1964. Ladd remained a popular star despite a litany of movies that showcase his tough demeanor and rugged good looks, but rarely rise above the mundane. One of them is 1942's Lucky Jordan, a silly yet oddly enjoyable comedy-thriller that helped put Ladd on the cinematic map.

Much like Casablanca, released the same year, Lucky Jordan combines romance, intrigue, comedy, and thrills against a World War II backdrop and features an "I stick my neck out for no one" hero, but unlike Casablanca, the mix feels disjointed and hastily tossed together, and the hero resembles a cardboard cutout instead of a flesh-and-blood human being.

"I'm gonna sit out this war where they can't find me...with a blonde in one hand and a drink in the other," says Lucky Jordan (Ladd), a shady "businessman" who would rather run his crime syndicate than fight the Nazis. Lucky tries to dodge the draft, but when his efforts fail, he ducks the drills of basic training, serves a stint in the stockade, and then goes AWOL. Jill Evans (Helen Walker), an attractive WAC who disapproves of Lucky's sour attitude, gets roped into his getaway, and after the requisite sparring, sparks fly between them.

Lucky's a wanted man, but when he discovers his disloyal partner Slip Moran (Sheldon Leonard), who tried to bump him off in the opening scene, is in cahoots with a spy ring that hopes to sell national secrets to the enemy, things get a lot stickier for him and Jill. The conflict also teaches Lucky there are issues and causes more important than himself.

After making a splash in This Gun for Hire and The Glass Key, Ladd earned the right to headline his own vehicle. Lucky Jordan gave him solo, above-the-title billing for the first time and he proved he possessed the magnetism to carry a film. His cocky, devil-may-care demeanor and willingness to use his fists when necessary make him a potent screen presence and he generates some heat with Walker, who's perhaps best known for her dazzling turn as a devious psychiatrist who drives Tyrone Power to destruction in the classic film noir Nightmare Alley a few years later. Lucky Jordan marked Walker's screen debut and she makes quite an impression, thanks to her throaty voice, sexy allure, and sizable talent.

The always colorful Leonard leads a crackerjack supporting cast, but despite their efforts and those of Ladd and Walker, the film's unfocused script and fluctuating tone keep it from completely capturing our fancy. Lucky Jordan is a jumble of genres rolled into one. It definitely has its moments but struggles to hang together. Though it gives a likable Ladd the chance to strut his stuff, Lucky Jordan never quite makes the grade.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Lucky Jordan arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case with reversible cover art. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu with music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

Video Review


A brand-new HD master struck from a 2K scan of the 35mm fine grain yields a very attractive 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer that brims with vibrancy and detail and faithfully honors the cinematography of seven-time Oscar nominee John F. Seitz. Grain levels fluctuate a bit, but the texture is nicely resolved most of the time, resulting in a silky image that maintains a palpable film-like feel. Excellent clarity and contrast, dense blacks, bright, stable whites, and beautifully graded grays produce a vivid, well-balanced picture. Shadow delineation is quite good, though some crush is evident during nocturnal scenes, and sharp close-ups highlight Ladd's rugged looks and the glamor of Walker and Marie McDonald. Some nicks, marks, and faint vertical lines dot the print throughout but rarely distract from the on-screen action. Considering the rare nature of Lucky Jordan, this transfer is especially impressive and will certainly thrill fans of Ladd and Golden Age films.

Audio Review


The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track supplies good-quality sound that's free of any age-related hiss, pops, or crackle. Dynamic range is a bit thin, but it still handles all the highs and lows of the music score by three-time Oscar winner Adolph Deutsch without any distortion. Sonic accents like gunfire and fisticuffs are crisp and all the dialogue is easy to comprehend. 

Special Features


A couple of extras round out the disc.

  • Audio Commentary - Film historian Samm Deighan sits down for an amiable and informative commentary that enhances appreciation for this little-known film. She calls Lucky Jordan "product of its time and place" and talks about the important career connection between Alan Ladd and director Frank Tuttle. She also discusses Tuttle's troubles with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, points out similarities between Lucky Jordan and This Gun for Hire (another Ladd film directed by Tuttle and released the same year), provides cast and crew bio information, and examines the movie's topical themes and the role women played during World War II. Deighan's commentaries are always well researched and presented, and this one is no exception.

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 minutes) - The film's original preview heralds Ladd's first starring role and Walker's film debut.

Final Thoughts

Lucky Jordan won't go down as one of Alan Ladd's best films, but it's an interesting Golden Age curio that unevenly combines romance, comedy, intrigue, and thrills. Kino unearths this forgotten flick and spruces it up with a brand-new HD master struck from a 2K scan of the 35mm fine grain. Solid audio complements the surprisingly vibrant video, and an insightful commentary track tops off this stellar release that Ladd lovers will welcome with open arms. For Fans Only.