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The Glass Key (1942)


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Release Date: Oct 14, 1942 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 735

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Movie Info

Dashiel Hammett's The Glass Key, a tale of big-city political corruption, was first filmed in 1935, with Edward Arnold as a duplicitous political boss and George Raft as his loyal lieutenant. This 1942 remake improves on the original, especially in replacing the stolid Raft with the charismatic Alan Ladd. Brian Donlevy essays the role of the boss, who is determined to back reform candidate Moroni Olsen, despite Ladd's gut feeling that this move is a mistake. Ladd knows that Donlevy is doing a


Mystery & Suspense

Jonathan Latimer

MCA Universal Home Video


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All Critics (11) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

Solid remake of the 1935 film of the same name.

December 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

First-rate noir thriller.

December 1, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Glass Key

Not as good as This Gun for Hire but a solid crime drama with the Lake/Ladd pairing as potent as ever.
November 14, 2011
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A political wheeler dealer with ties to organized crime falls for the daughter of a reformist politician but when her brother is murdered, the blame seems to fall squarely upon him. The Glass Key doesn't really fit wholly into the pigeon hole of Film Noir, but its no nonsense, tough guy approach and sharp dialogue will certainly appeal to its fans. The centrepiece of the film is the relationship between Brian Donlevy and Alan Ladd as his trusted sidekick and their great chemistry was obviously a big influence on the Coen brothers when they made Miller's Crossing. Veronica Lake also shines as the gorgeous debutante and although it lacks the cynicism of my favourite Noirs, it has a really nice "feel" to it. The biggest flaw is in the plot which was clearly simplified for the screen leaving the mystery aspect a little lacking, but the execution is great.
August 9, 2011
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Brian Donlevy's crooked, McGinty-ish politician angers a criminal associate (Joseph Calleia, effortlessly sinister) by pledging his support for a reform candidate whose beautiful daughter he has taken a fancy to. Murder, political chicanery and a smouldering love-hate relationship between the would-be governor's daughter (Veronica Lake) and Donlevy's right-hand man (Alan Ladd) ensue. The Glass Key falls a little short of being one of the true classics of film noir. Tonally, I found it rather peculiar and the ending was one of the corniest I've seen for a long time. In general, the movie is several shades lighter than pure noir, although there are a couple of extraordinarily perverse moments that really do hit the spot, not least the sadomasochistic beating Ladd receives from one of Calleia's goons. In one of the other darker scenes, Ladd prevents a hostile newspaper editor from running a defamatory story about Donlevy by canoodling with the guy's trophy wife until he commits suicide. It's fair to say that Ladd was not ideally suited to this sort of material, but the film contrasts the benignity of his features with the ruthlessness of his character's actions to excellent effect.
August 9, 2009

Super Reviewer

this was really damn good and an inspiration for both yojimbo and miller's crossing. i could definitely rate it higher except that i always have difficulty buying alan ladd as a tough guy...when he tries to look hard it's funny
August 6, 2009
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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