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An adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 'hard-boiled' detective novel, The Glass Key is an early but important contribution to the film noir canon. Jonathan Latimer's smart script is faithful to Hammett's potent and entertaining combination of political intrigue, sex and violence. First filmed by Frank Tuttle in 1935, Stuart Heisler's 1942 remake starring Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd is widely regarded as the superior version. When a corrupt politician Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy) is accused of murder, his friend and right hand man Ed Beaumont (Alan Ladd) is determined to track down the real killer. Fending off amorous advances from his boss' fiancee Janet Henry (Veronica Lake) and attacks from gangsters with nothing to lose, Beaumont's loyalty is severely tested. Ladd and Lake, two actors synonymous with the glacially cool, sexually charged atmosphere of the noir film have great screen chemistry here, and are well supported by William Bendix and Joseph Calleia as the vicious gangster thugs. The inspiration for Akira Kurosawa's 1961 samurai classic Yojimbo and a source of influence for filmmakers from Howard Hawks to the Coen Brothers, The Glass Key's stellar performances, surprisingly contemporary themes and well-crafted action sequences make it a great introduction to the noir form.
The Glass Key
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Alan Ladd, Arthur Loft, Bonita Granville, Brian Donlevy, Brooks Benedict, Conrad Binyon, Donald MacBride, Eddie Marr, Frances Gifford, Frank Bruno, George Meader, Joseph Calleia, Margaret Hayes, Moroni Olsen, Richard Denning, Veronica Lake, William 'Billy' Benedict, William Bendix