The Glass Key (1935)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  15 June 1935 (USA)
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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 »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Claire Dodd ...
Rosalind Keith ...
Opal Madvig (as Rosalind Culli)
Charles Richman ...
Robert Gleckler ...
Jeff (as Guinn Williams)
Tammany Young ...
Harry Tyler ...
Henry Sloss
Charles C. Wilson ...
Emma Dunn ...
'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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He Carries His Love in His 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  »

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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 »


Ned Beaumont: Silk socks don't go with tweed.
Paul Madvig: I like the feel.
Ned Beaumont: Then lay off tweeds.
See more »


Version of The Glass Key (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

THE GLASS KEY (Frank Tuttle, 1935) ***
5 February 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Crime novelist Dashiell Hammett is best-known for penning THE THIN MAN and THE MALTESE FALCON and, like the latter's original 1931 film version was completely overshadowed by John Huston's classic 1941 remake, the same fate practically befell another of his filmed works. In fact, the original 1935 version of THE GLASS KEY has been all but impossible to see until recently, while its 1942 remake was easily available on DVD in Europe. Although I do own a copy of the latter, it has been ages since I watched it last and cannot sensibly compare the two versions now; having said that, the credits for the original – director Frank Tuttle (who would later make a star out of Alan Ladd in THIS GUN FOR HIRE and whose next picture, ironically enough, was the aforementioned remake of THE GLASS KEY!), stars George Raft (this obviously made him the first choice for Sam Spade in the remake of FALCON, but he turned it down to Bogie's eternal benefit!), Ray Milland and Ann Sheridan, plus character actors Edward Arnold, Guinn Williams and Irving Bacon – are sufficiently interesting to merit its re-evaluation as a worthy precursor to the noir subgenre.

Raft is influential lawyer Arnold's right-hand man who, carrying on from his own star-making turn in Howard Hawks' SCARFACE (1932), has an eye for his boss' sister; when the former decides to become the ally of the local political candidate (because he too has his heart set on the latter's sister!), everything starts to go wrong for him, especially after turning down the defense of a drunken motorist from a manslaughter charge and when setting his foot down on the nightclub owned by the local underworld kingpin. However, it is the politician's inveterate gambler son Milland who proves to be the catalyst for disaster as, ostensibly pursuing the affections of Arnold's daughter, he is truly after milking the girl out of her funds to satiate the aforementioned criminal with whom he is indebted. This state of affairs naturally pits Arnold and Milland at loggerheads and it is up to the quick-witted Raft to shuffle his boss out of a murder rap when Milland's corpse is found lying in the gutter one night after the latest scuffle with his prospective father-in-law!

At one point in the narrative – in a brutal sequence anticipating the later ones featuring Dick Powell's Philip Marlowe and Ralph Meeker's Mike Hammer in, respectively, Edward Dmytryk's MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) and Robert Aldrich's KISS ME DEADLY (1955) – Raft suffers greatly at the hands of the criminal's chief henchman Williams (effectively cast against type) and, eventually, ends up in hospital where he is nursed by a pre-stardom Sheridan. Yet, despite having also been assaulted by a massive dog, he goes back for more and, ultimately, defeats the thug by turning him against his own employer. The identity of the real murderer is not all that mysterious in itself but the journey to the denouement is an exciting ride and, indeed, it is kickstarted by a spectacular car-crash right in the very opening scene! For what it is worth, the characters of Arnold's mother and card-trick obsessed odd-job man, providing here the requisite elements of sentimentality and comic relief, were dispensed with for the remake in those somber days of WWII.

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