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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 »

Director:

Frank Tuttle

Writers:

Dashiell Hammett (novel), Kathryn Scola (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Raft ... Ed Beaumont
Edward Arnold ... Paul Madvig
Claire Dodd ... Janet Henry
Rosalind Keith ... Opal Madvig (as Rosalind Culli)
Charles Richman ... Senator John T. Henry
Robert Gleckler ... Shad O'Rory
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Jeff (as Guinn Williams)
Ray Milland ... Taylor Henry
Tammany Young ... Clarkie
Harry Tyler ... Henry Sloss
Charles C. Wilson ... District Attorney Edward J. Farr
Emma Dunn ... 'Mom' Madvig
Matt McHugh Matt McHugh ... Puggy
Pat Moriarity Pat Moriarity ... Mulrooney
Mack Gray ... Duke
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

He Carries His Love in His Iron Fists! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 June 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Chave de Cristal See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Carole Lombard was mentioned for the role eventually played by Claire Dodd. See more »

Quotes

Paul Madvig: He's practically given me the key to his house.
Ned Beaumont: Yeah? A glass key. Look out it don't break off in your hand.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Glass Key (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A perfect match of styles
26 October 2006 | by ROCKY-19See 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.


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