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The Glass Key (1942)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 23 October 1942 (USA)
A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.

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(screen play), (based on the novel by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Ralph Henry
Eddie Marr ...
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Clyde Matthews
George Meader ...
Claude Tuttle
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

23 October 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der gläserne Schlüssel  »

Company Credits

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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. Its earliest documented telecast took place in Seattle 14 March 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), and, not surprisingly, it soon became a popular local film favorite as it first aired in Milwaukee 17 April 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), in Omaha 30 April 1959 on KETV (Channel 7), in Minneapolis 1 August 1959 on WTCN (Channel 11), in Chicago 8 September 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2), in St. Louis 19 September 1959 on KMOX (Channel 4), in Philadelphia 25 September 1959 on WCAU (Channel 10), in Pittsburgh 1 October 1959 on KDKA (Channel 2), in Asheville 11 November 1959 on WLOS (Channel 13), in San Francisco 1 January 1960 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Grand Rapids 9 January 1960 on WOOD (Channel 8), and, finally, in New York City 10 April 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2). It was released on DVD 10 June 2013 by Turner Classic Movies as part of the Universal Collection, and again 10 November 2014 as part of Universal's Film Noir Movie Spotlight Collection, and, since that time, has also enjoyed occasional cable TV presentations on Turner Classic Movies. 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

Man at campaign headquarters: But Paul, I can't make my boys vote the reform ticket!
Paul Madvig: Why not? Most of them come from the reform school.
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Connections

Referenced in Queen of the Blues (1979) 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

A legendary film noir
4 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy), a crooked politician has decided to give up his corrupted past to team up with the respectable candidate Ralph Henry for the ongoing election. As an example of his new ethics, he refuses to protect the clandestine place of Nick Varna by giving a call to the Police in the presence of Nick Varna and Paul's personal hired man Ed Beaumont telling the cops to prepare a visit to this gambling place. Things get complicated when Ralph Henry's son is discovered dead by Ed Beaumont probably murdered in front of Paul Madvig's place. Taylor had a gambling problem and was in love with Paul Madvig's young sister Opal ‘Snip' Madvig. Paul is a first choice suspect, at least to the local journal but did Paul really do it? Who is he protecting? And who is writing these nasty anonymous letters?

This is truly a classic Hollywood film noir. The plot is harder to follow than in the Blue Dahlia, but this is nonetheless a high standard movie. The acting, the dialogues and the directing are all good and playful. This is one of the movies where Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake chemistry first exploded. Just have a look at the first scene when they meet: she gives Ladd sultry looks when Paul Madvig is doing all the talking. I had a hard time concentrating on the discussion at this point. You know that these two will go a long way, even when at some point in the movie, she becomes engaged to Paul and that their relationship becomes more difficult. Veronica Lake is absolutely beautiful in this movie. Her looks are very suggestive and her husky voice is the sweetest. During this movie, you will see Lake kissing Ladd, but it's only a one way kiss. I just saw this movie last night in Oak Street Cinema (Minneapolis) and the audience enjoyed it very much until the very end, and so shall everybody. A classic film noir. Highly recommended 8/10.


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