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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 3,473 users  
Reviews: 60 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 ...
...
...
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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

Nick Varna: I'm too big to take the boot from you now.
Paul Madvig: You may be too big to take it laying down, Nick, but you're gonna take it. You are taking it.
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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Match made in heaven
23 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Alan Ladd warns Brian Dennehy about "The Glass Key" in this 1942 noir also starring Veronica Lake and William Bendix. The glass key refers to a key that breaks in a lock - Ladd here is warning his boss (Brian Donlevy) to watch out for people out to get him. Donlevy is Paul Madvig, who controls a political machine and falls in love with the daughter (Lake) of a wealthy man, Ralph Henry, trying to get the benefit of Madvig's political influence. When Henry's no-good son Taylor is killed, Madvig falls under suspicion. Ladd, as his assistant Ed, works to prove his innocence.

This film is good but hard to follow. It's also cold as ice with nothing to warm it up. Ladd and Lake were one terrific team, but one could never call them warm, especially in this. It's also very violent

  • you practically cry out in pain when William Bendix, playing yet


another whack job, beats Ed to a pulp. When Ed gets away from him, it's by throwing himself out a window - a stunning scene.

"The Glass Key" is a cross between a hard crime drama and a noir, and you couldn't ask for a more perfect actor for the noir genre than Ladd. He gives a focused, relaxed performance, saying his lines in his usual straightforward manner. He's one actor who never had to be tall to be tough or powerful, and one forgets all about his height, especially when seeing him next to tiny, gorgeous Lake. He takes some beating in this but keeps right on going. Donlevy does a good job as a political boss, and Bendix is scary. The one bad note is Granville, as Madvig's sister. She was an energetic actress who, when the director wasn't paying attention, could go way over the top in her dramatic scenes. Evidently the director was distracted.

The film has a Hollywood ending which many people won't like. Although "The Glass Key" is confusing, it's still worth watching to see the two stars at the top of their game.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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