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 »
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
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 »
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 »
My first wife was the second cook at a third-rate joint on 4th Street.
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This no-holds-barred dramatisation of the Dashiell Hammett novel contains the writer's familiar elements of tough men and shrewd women, complex plotting and lots of violence. I certainly wasn't expecting to see the absolute pounding Alan Ladd takes at the hands of William Bendix and his crony - top marks to the make-up team for making his battered and bruised face so true-to-life.
To find out exactly how Ladd ends up in the position of being so viciously interrogated by these two hoodlums, you have to go back two or three plot-lines in a typically convoluted Hammett narrative. Ladd is the right hand man of his friend and mentor Brian Dunlevy who's running as governor in a corrupt unidentified American town. The story details take in political intrigue, corruption of the press, the murder of a key witness, blackmail, torture, suicide and perversion of justice, all this in under 90 minutes.
The story certainly bowls you along even if you might occasionally scratch your head as you try to piece together the plot, but like some of the best noir / gangster films of the day, the plot details effectively don't matter. With sharp dialogue, realistic fight-scenes and well-observed political intrigue, this is an ahead-of-its-time thriller which delivers a real punch.
We're made to wait a while for Ladd and Lake's first joint appearance but there's definitely something in the air. William Bendix is great as always as the bloodthirsty henchman, the tiny Lake smoulders impressively and the ever-watchable Dunlevy is effective as the win-at-all-costs politician compromised by events. The direction is fast and fairly furious, watch out in particular for Ladd's dramatic escape through a window right into a table of shocked diners.
I couldn't pretend to follow all the characters sometimes shady alliances and dubious decisions, but as a rip-roaring political movie, this key certainly opened my door.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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