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The Glass Key (1942)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  23 October 1942 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,177 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 28 critic

During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (based on the novel by)
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Title: The Glass Key (1942)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Richard Denning ...
...
Nick Varna
...
Frances Gifford ...
Nurse
Donald MacBride ...
Margaret Hayes ...
Moroni Olsen ...
Ralph Henry
Eddie Marr ...
Rusty
Arthur Loft ...
Clyde Matthews
George Meader ...
Claude Tuttle
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Dugan ...
Jeep (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable reformist politician Ralph Henry. When Ralph's son, Taylor Henry, a gambler and the lover of Paul's sister Opal, is murdered, Paul's right arm, Ed Beaumont, finds his body on the street. Nick uses the financial situation of The Observer to force the publisher Clyde Matthews to use the newspaper to raise the suspicion that Paul Madvig might have killed Taylor. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Tougher They Are - The Harder They Fall


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der gläserne Schlüssel  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title of this book and movie is most obscure; thankfully its meaning is described by Richard Layman in his book, Shadow Man: The life of Dashiell Hammett. A glass key symbolizes an act or experience which cannot be reversed or forgotten. It is a key made of glass which allows one entry to a room or a building but which shatters after one use. Skeleton keys were used for many years before and after this story to lock doors from both sides; hence, a skeleton key made of glass which breaks in a lock will prohibit the locking of a door and will prohibit one from leaving the room. Hence, once in the chamber one is subject to see one's choice through. See more »

Goofs

In Farr's office, when Ed is slowly tucking the anonymous letter in his inside pocket, Farr tells him he expects a visit from Nick. The camera is on Ed who abruptly takes his hand out of his inside pocket and turns to Farr, but then the camera cuts to show both him and Farr and he's still tucking the letter in his inside pocket. See more »

Quotes

Paul Madvig: -to hospital doctor- Look... If that guy dies, I'm gonna turn this place into a warehouse.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Best of Film Noir (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

I Don't Want to Walk Without You
(uncredited)
from Sweater Girl (1942)
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Played on piano and sung by Lillian Randolph in the Basement Club
See more »

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User Reviews

Sock-Me-Again Ladd and Big-Slob Bendix
18 February 2004 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

"Reform" party politicians making unholy alliances in the final days of an election, media manipulators itching to smear a candidate in the morning news, ingrate gambling richboys who screw up everything for everybody. A "dated" film?

If anyone's ahead of the game it's Ladd. Smart, tough--he'll take the blows but not the fall. A shark-eyed quiet little guy with a deep voice. A small mouth with barely an upper lip. A smile not quite a smile--head to head with doll-like Veronica Lake who smiles even more when she doesn't mean it. They are a stare-down match for each other. And that bemused look on their faces tells you they're not just game players.

Then there's scene-stealer William Bendix. When a redneck isn't gettin' any action, he might settle for a good knock-down. Getting good & drunk is foreplay. Bendix romances Ladd. How many times does he call Ladd sweetheart? Bendix can hardly wait to get on with the hard stuff. (Don't forget to check out the contemporary hair.) Watch and wince while Ladd plays co-dependent.

For toppers: Ladd's dinner-crashing moment (via skylight)--inspired. Maybe worth the whole film just to see.

Then there are lines like, "My first wife was a second cook in a third-rate joint on Fourth Street," Lake's jab at the Christian Science Monitor, or "If you're going to be a nitwit, don't go around with a megaphone." Also not to miss: Lillian Randolph at the piano of a hide-out bar singing to Bendix. Looking like he's about to cry---till Ladd walks in.

Densely detailed, paced one step ahead--not for the sleepy.


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