The Glass Key (1942)


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 examples of the genre, 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 spot on.


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