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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 3,554 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 31 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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Richard Denning ...
...
...
...
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

Referenced in Letter from an Unknown Woman (2004) 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
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User Reviews

 
Sordid, Realistic and Timeless Film-Noir
13 December 2009 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy) decides to clean his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna (Joseph Calleia) and associating to the respectable reformist politician Ralph Henry (Moroni Olsen). When Ralph's son Taylor Henry (Richard Denning), who is a gambler and lover of Paul's sister Opal (Bonita Granville), is murdered, Paul's right arm Ed Beaumont (Alan Ladd) finds his body on the street. Nick uses the financial situation of The Observer to force the publisher Clyde Matthews (Arthur Loft) to use the newspaper to raise the suspect that Paul Madvig might have killed Taylor. Meanwhile, Paul proposes Ralph's daughter Janet Henry (Veronica Lake) and Ed is intrigued since he knows that she hates Paul.

"The Glass Key" is a sordid, realistic and timeless film-noir with a story that is not dated. All the characters with no exception are filthy: the dirty politicians; the manipulative newspaper publisher; the corrupt district attorney; the trifling women. The motivation of the loyalty of Ed Beaumont to Paul Madvig is blurred and never clear. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Chave de Vidro" ("The Glass Key")


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

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