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The Glass Key (1935)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 15 June 1935 (USA)
Ed Beaumont is the personal friend, advisor and bodyguard to Paul Madvig, the political boss of a large city. When a mysterious murder is committed---the son of a Madvig political opponent-... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosalind Keith ...
Opal Madvig (as Rosalind Culli)
Charles Richman ...
Robert Gleckler ...
Jeff (as Guinn Williams)
Tammany Young ...
Henry Sloss
'Mom' Madvig
Matt McHugh ...
Pat Moriarity ...


Ed Beaumont is the personal friend, advisor and bodyguard to Paul Madvig, the political boss of a large city. When a mysterious murder is committed---the son of a Madvig political opponent---Madvig's enemies try to pin the crime on him because he is waging a clean-up campaign they oppose. Ed risks his life and his reputation to find the killer and clear his friend. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Kid Glove with Iron Fists! (original poster) See more »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 June 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Chave de Cristal  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


Shad O'Rory: You talk too much with your mouth, Jeff.
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Version of The Glass Key (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

Raft Fixes It For Arnold
27 November 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This 1935 version of The Glass Key is not often seen, the 1942 film with Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, and Brian Donlevy is far better known. Still this one has some interesting features, notably for the one and only time in his career George Raft played a Dashiell Hammett hero.

It is one of the legends of Hollywood that George Raft turned down three of the roles that made Humphrey Bogart a legend, High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca. The middle one of these was taken from the Dashiell Hammett novel and Ed Beaumont is very much like Sam Spade.

They have the same laconic personality, but unlike Spade who is a partner in a detective agency and for hire, George Raft as Beaumont is the personal retainer and fixer for political boss Edward Arnold. And Arnold is heading for some trouble. He's decided to join the 'reform' element in his town headed by Senator Charles Richman and that does not please gangster Robert Gleckler who has had a working relationship with Arnold up to this time. But Arnold who has worked his way up from poverty sees a chance at respectability and the thing that makes him interested is Claire Dodd who is Richman's daughter and who plays along with Arnold's interest in her for her father's sake.

At the same time Richman has a wastrel son in Ray Milland who has added Arnold's daughter Rosalind Keith to his list of conquests. He's needing some money real bad to pay off gambling markers to Gleckler. Later on Milland winds up dead and suspicion falls on Arnold. It's up to Raft to investigate and get him out of the jackpot.

Three big changes from this version of The Glass Key are readily apparent. First in the 1942 version the daughter of Arnold becomes the sister of Brian Donlevy played there by Bonita Granville. Secondly the character of Emma Dunn is here as Arnold's mother, the mother isn't in the 1942 film. Finally a most unfunny comic relief character in this film played by Tammany Young is dropped altogether from the later film. Otherwise if you know what happened in that film the same occurs here with the same ending.

But the leads are the exact same, tightlipped and tough. George Raft and Alan Ladd are just about the same as actors except for hair color. Veronica Lake is a bit more sultry than Claire Dodd, but then again she was more sultry than most of the women ever born on planet earth.

I think Donlevy convinced himself in his version that he was really in love with Veronica Lake. Arnold whose character mouths the words was married before and now that he's a widower is looking for that all important trophy wife this time around.

It's hard to choose between Guinn Williams and William Bendix who played the sadistic Jeff who was the button man for Gleckler. Williams could be brutal in films if he had to, though most of the time he played amiable lunkheads. There's no element of latent repressed homosexuality in Williams's performance as there is with Bendix however.

Although both versions from Paramount of The Glass Key standup well today, it's really a pity that Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall never got to do this story. It would have been perfect for both of them.

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