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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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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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

A perfect match of styles
26 October 2006 | by (Arizona) – See all my reviews

Stark cinematography, crisp story-telling and quirky humor make this a ground-breaking film, showing later film noir creators the basics.

The classic Dashiell Hammitt story gets a unique treatment. The still, anticipatory mood punctuated with abrupt, staccato dialogue is an inspired match for George Raft, playing perfectly to his strengths. Like Raft the film is stylish, watchful and reticent. He doesn't have to fake a thing. Edward Arnold is at his best as Paul Madvig in the center of the drama.

As for plot, the ne're-do-well son of a senator is found dead in the gutter, and all the "evidence" points to his girlfriend's father, Madvig, a political boss in town. Arch-enemy Shad O'Rory (Robert Gleckler) pulls out all the stops to bring him down while Madvig's right-hand man Ed Beaumont (Raft) goes through hell to prove his innocence.

In one torturous sequence, Raft never speaks a word while being abused (not to mention mocked), and that silence is visually compelling. There is a delicious use of stark shadows throughout. Instead of a bombastic soundtrack we get subtle use of organic sound. A key scene of violence is underscored marvelously by a swinging light fixture and a solo rendering of "Walkin' the Floor" echoing up the stairs.

Pig-eyed Guinn Williams is somehow both comic and brutal as Shad's hired thug. Charles Richman is everything a senator should be. Claire Dodd is the passionate sister of the murder victim, and Rosalind Culli makes a watery Miss Madvig.

It is entertaining to see a very young Ray Milland in the brief role as the murder victim. And then there's Ann Sheridan, memorable in only one scene as one tough nurse.

This does not have elements that became stereotypical in the more fully developed film noir - such as the femme fatale and overt lustiness, which were in the popular Alan Ladd remake of this story. This version does hedge on some violent elements and is a little too simplistic in others, leaving some plot points unclear at first. But the its consistent sense of its own style and sense of reality with the more believable cast let this first version stand on its own.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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