The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Smashes In Violent Film Noir

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy Veronica Lake movie poster film noir

Sometimes you watch so many films that you forget some of the plot lines. Like was there actually a Glass Key in the story? I really can’t recall if there was? Kind of one of the reasons I do these posts. To cement in that old cranium what went down.

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy

Haha what I do remember were these little people stomping around at a peculiar great speed. Alan Ladd looked speeded up and funny in his oversized jacket. His walk made me laugh. I know he would clock me right on the jaw if he was here right now but look next time you sit and watch it. His movements are funny. Then there’s Brian Donlevy who I once said looks like he’s lost from the silent era with his facial expressions. (Hangmen Also Die!). He’s also made me giggle as he quick steps around ready to sock a bunch of fives into some geezers chops. Where Alan’s suits are over size, Brian’s are bursting at the seams with his stocky frame. There’s even the impish floozy Veronica Lake with bones you could pick your teeth with. A wonderful wraith like beauty with flowing peek-a-boo hair. It wouldn’t be long before the smiles are wiped from my face!

Paul Madvig – “I just met the swellest dame… She smacked me in the kisser.

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy film noir drama

Of course I being facetious. Alan Ladd is so awesome and I love watching his films. He might be of small stature but this dude is tough as nails. Whether he’s the tough hit man, Raven, in This Gun For Hire or the weary gunfighter, Shane. There’s also one of my favorites where he plays an ex-bomber pilot veteran accused of murder in the brilliant The Blue Dahlia. He dishes out a few well placed trips and jabs. He so cool. There’s still so many Alan Ladd films for me to see. Feel free to recommend, fire away, please.

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy film noir drama mirror

Now the thing I was not expecting from The Glass Key was the monster beating he was gonna get. I’m gonna spoil this shocking and brutal scene for you in a moment if you haven’t seen it. So stop reading if don’t want to know. But hey it’s a 76 year old film now! Here’s a short description of what’s going on in the story to get you kinda caught up with that crazy scene!

Ed Beaumont (Alan Ladd) is good friends with politician Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy). He’s a bodyguard of sorts for Paul, his right hand man. Paul is a crooked politician, has a raging temper on him and wants Janet Henry (Veronica Lake) on his arm. Shady deals and shadowy gangsters sniff around. Paul commits a murder? Ed investigates. Poking his nose into his friends affairs is gonna get him trouble.

Tagline – The Tougher They Are – The Harder They Fall

The Glass Key (1942) Crazy face Jeff William Bendix punching Alan Ladd publicity photo

Enter the scene I hinted at above. Ready? It’s incredibly brutal. A vicious fight. Well a one sided beating from a smiling human brickwall as it unleashes sucker punches and devastating body blows. Jeff (William Bendix) confidently laughs and informs what’s happening to his victim Ed as he reigns down power slugs of clubbed fist and brawn. “Look, sweetie pie, you ought to lie down. You don’t feel so good” BAM! Ed’s tough, he takes it. Gives some back. Then the lights go out. Like a rag doll he’s dumped on a bed. Jeff is sad. His fun is over. Then he remembers the steak in the fridge. He’d earned it and when the little fella wakes up he can smash him some more. Jeff smiles. Food time.

The Glass Key (1942) Crazy face Jeff William Bendix smashed beaten up Alan Ladd

It’s a tough scene and extremely violent for 1942. I read that William did in fact clock Alan for real, right on the kisser, rendering him unconscious. But it doesn’t end there! There’s a whole sequence to the extremes Ed has to go through to escape his predicament. With a happy family just about to tuck into their spaghetti, they were not expecting another guest. One cut, bruised and smashed, like mashed potato! Flying through the air! It’s a frantic and first-rate series of scenes.

The Glass Key (1942) Crazy face Jeff William Bendix wild eyed and crazy hair

A few things I’ve learnt.

  • Directed by Stuart Heisler who made the recently watched by me, Rogers, Reagan, Day and that klan movie, Storm Warning.
  • Based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett who had wrote the two classic thrillers The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man.
  • The trio of William Bendix, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake would go on to star in many films together.
  • The Glass Key is in fact a remake of a 1935 version starring George Raft and Edward Arnold as Ed and Paul.
  • Top quality write up by wordsmith Gary over at Cracked Rear Viewer

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy Veronica Lake publicity photo

The Glass Key is definitely worth tracking down if you haven’t seen it. It’s got a short punchy runtime, it’s exciting,  features some dodgy looking gangsters and there’s even some room left for a few laughs. And you know what, that firecracker scene is something to truly behold.

Not been able to post at all recently which is a shame as I love it. Each film that excites I instantly know I wanna do a post. To share what I’ve seen, to hear what others thought. To discover more, to find new films. To keep learning and enjoying…… All the best, Mikey

PS. Darn it, I’m still not sure if there was a glass key*?

*A glass key symbolizes an act or experience which cannot be reversed or forgotten. It is a key made of glass which allows one entry to a room or a building but which shatters after one use!

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Storm Warning (1951) President Reagan In Klan Film With Ginger Rogers And Doris Day!… Saaay Whaaat!

Storm Warning (1951) Ginger Rogers Ronald Reagan Doris Day Steve Cochran movie poster

I was intrigued with Storm Warning not only by it’s daunting subject matter but also alarmed to see three actors included that I just couldn’t fathom in a movie based around the Ku Klux Klan. Stamped on the poster are the names of three giant stars. The future President Of The United States, Ronald Reagan and the all singing, all dancing ladies, Ginger Rogers and butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, Doris Day. Seriously WTF? Continue reading “Storm Warning (1951) President Reagan In Klan Film With Ginger Rogers And Doris Day!… Saaay Whaaat!”

Hangover Square (1945) Murdering Maundering Madman Is Musical Genius

Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar Linda Darnell film noir movie poster

With no messing about, this film jumps straight into a POV murder. First a stab with a dagger then a double tap with a gas lamp. The victim isn’t just gonna die, he’s gonna burn too! In the first of a series of shocking and macabre death scenes Hangover Square really grabs your attention. I love it when a movie gamble pays off. Went into this film really for it’s short runtime. Not the ideal way to pick a film, I know. Had way too many late nights and the thought that if I ain’t digging it I’ll turn it off and get myself an early night. Haha no chance. I was hooked and instantly invested in the plight of George Harvey Bone (Laird Cregar), right from that first hard hitting opening scene. Continue reading “Hangover Square (1945) Murdering Maundering Madman Is Musical Genius”

Woman on the Run (1950) Banter, Roller Coasters, A Feisty Lady And A Packet Of Smokes

Woman on the Run (1950) Film noir Robert Keith Ann Sheridan Dennis O'Keefe poster

If your looking for a nifty noir with razor sharp dialogue and a killer roller coaster ride through the streets of San Francisco then Woman On The Run is just the ticket.

Taglines – As Startling as Your OWN Scream in the Night!

Continue reading “Woman on the Run (1950) Banter, Roller Coasters, A Feisty Lady And A Packet Of Smokes”

The Petrified Forest (1936) A Waitress, a Hobo and a Bank Robber Walk Into a Bar

The Petrified Forest (1936) Leslie Howard Bette Davis Humphrey Bogart movie poster

There I was sitting giggling to myself, waiting for this hilarious, frightened, petrified woodland to appear only to find out it was just a few rocks in the godforsaken desert. Of course I’m only having a laugh. I found The Petrified Forest a very intriguing title. I knew Humphrey Bogart had a standout role within the film but I wasn’t here this time for him. This viewing was for a certain actress called Bette Davis, which, sit down before I say this, I’d not seen any of her films! Please forgive me, I take myself off on a long walk as penance!

The Petrified Forest (1936) Leslie Howard wandering desert tumbleweed dusty road Continue reading “The Petrified Forest (1936) A Waitress, a Hobo and a Bank Robber Walk Into a Bar”

They Drive by Night (1940) The Magnificent Fabrini Brothers

They Drive By Night (1940) poster movie Raoul Walsh Bogie Raft Lupino

Humphrey Bogart is back again hitting my screen in the wolf lair as the quest to work through his films carries on. This time HB was in supporting role mode in this 1940’s movie called They Drive By Night . Top billing duties went to George Raft who, lets be honest, sounds more like Humphrey than Bogie himself in this. These two native New Yorkers make very believable brothers. Let’s meet the Fabrini Brothers. Continue reading “They Drive by Night (1940) The Magnificent Fabrini Brothers”

In a Lonely Place (1950) Angry Bogie’s Fury And An Alternative Ending

In a Lonely Place (1950) Humphrey Bogart Nicholas Ray movie poster one sheet

Before doing this blog I was blissfully unaware of Humphrey Bogart being bad! I’d only seen a handful of his movies and what with his legendary status following you around since whenever I can remember. Call me naive, I’d always thought he played good guys.  Well rogues or strong willed tough guys with a heart of gold or a cast iron moral code. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong! He was somewhat naughty in The Desperate Hours but I have to say I didn’t expect him to beat his despicable me part in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. So you see I wasn’t ready for Dixon Steele to turn up in In a Lonely Place and not reading anything about it when going in I’d expected him to be another Samuel Spade style PI. Continue reading “In a Lonely Place (1950) Angry Bogie’s Fury And An Alternative Ending”

City That Never Sleeps (1953) Robot Man, Strippers, Magician And A City God!

City That Never Sleeps (1953) poster one sheeet noir gig young mala powers

Voice of Chicago – “The city at night. A million homes, three and a half million people, all different from one another. People lovin’, people hatin’, people stealin’, people prayin’..”

Opening with the voice of Chicago looking down on its citizens, you can kinda guess we’re not in traditional film noir setting. Well actually the underlying story couldn’t be anymore noir but this strange little film has managed to squeeze in a few cheeky little surprises. So what’s going on Wolfie? Continue reading “City That Never Sleeps (1953) Robot Man, Strippers, Magician And A City God!”

No Way Out (1950) Sidney Poitier In Spinal Tap Of Prejudice

No Way Out (1950) poster dvd bluray cover paul rand design sidney poitier

With enough N-Bombs to make Quentin Tarantino blush, No Way Out is one helluva tough watch that’s for sure. However it processes an important social message about racial prejudices and bigoted hatred.  This is the story of a young black man and his encounter with narrow-minded, blind, racial intolerance. Continue reading “No Way Out (1950) Sidney Poitier In Spinal Tap Of Prejudice”

The Desperate Hours (1955) Home Invasion With Humphrey Bogart

The Desperate Hours (1955) poster art work one sheet bogart march wyler

Looking back through my recent film posts it reveals that the 50’s has been making a mark on this here cine-wolf. Each movie find that I watch has brought its own new unique style. Like with many films from the 40’s and 50’s they just get the pacing spot on. A dash of surprising action, a shocking bit of violence and the right amount of dialogue. Expertly giving a good balance to realistic situations and character development. Whilst still always pushing and probing the boundaries, daring to see what they can get past the censors. And with doing so, they manage to draw you right into their created worlds. Yesterdays viewing schedule presented me with Humphrey Bogart’s penultimate film, The Desperate Hours. Continue reading “The Desperate Hours (1955) Home Invasion With Humphrey Bogart”