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The Glass Key
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10 from 3,569 votes
Release: 23 October 1942 (USA) /

The Glass Key

Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Director: Stuart Heisler,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: 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

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Critic Reviews

"Reform" party politicians making unholy alliances in the final days of an election, media manipulators itching to smear a candidate in the morning news, ingrate gambling richboys who screw up everything for everybody. A "dated" film?

If anyone's ahead of the game it's Ladd. Smart, tough--he'll take the blows but not the fall. A shark-eyed quiet little guy with a deep voice. A small mouth with barely an upper lip. A smile not quite a smile--head to head with doll-like Veronica Lake who smiles even more when she doesn't mean it. They are a stare-down match for each other. And that bemused look on their faces tells you they're not just game players.

Then there's scene-stealer William Bendix. When a redneck isn't gettin' any action, he might settle for a good knock-down. Getting good & drunk is foreplay. Bendix romances Ladd. How many times does he call Ladd sweetheart? Bendix can hardly wait to get on with the hard stuff. (Don't forget to check out the contemporary hair.) Watch and wince while Ladd plays co-dependent.

For toppers: Ladd's dinner-crashing moment (via skylight)--inspired. Maybe worth the whole film just to see.

Then there are lines like, "My first wife was a second cook in a third-rate joint on Fourth Street," Lake's jab at the Christian Science Monitor, or "If you're going to be a nitwit, don't go around with a megaphone." Also not to miss: Lillian Randolph at the piano of a hide-out bar singing to Bendix. Looking like he's about to cry---till Ladd walks in.

Densely detailed, paced one step ahead--not for the sleepy.

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