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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Paradise Alley (1978) Video Store Action Heroes 4 x Action Packed Fight VHS Movie Memories

Paradise Alley (1976) Sylvester Stallone Armand Assante vhs cover poster

So it’s that time again when the dreamboys or The Video Store Action Heroes as we sometimes go by join forces and unleash a choice selection of our movie rental memories. Now where this is of course a very fun excursion, its not without its dangers, yep I said it, dangers. It’s a tightrope that we walk to bring these reviews. Hacking into the hippocampus part of the brain has peril written all over it. Why you just don’t know what unearthly memory you could tap into. With a gentle prod a sweet memory might bring a bittersweet tear to fall down the side of your cheek or maybe release a slight giggle of laughter. Though truth be told it’s normally a spontaneous bout of Wilhelm Screams. Continue reading “Paradise Alley (1978) Video Store Action Heroes 4 x Action Packed Fight VHS Movie Memories”

The Informers (1963) Underworld Gangsters, Snitches And Inspector Nigel Patrick

The Informers (1963) incredible drwn artwork poster one sheet Nigel Patrick

Yes I may be of a rotund nature but I’m sure the ladies liked my cuddly frame. Happy go lucky was my motto. Besides, I was a self employed man happy to wander around the good old bars of London supping on whatever booze flowed it’s way into my mouth. A beer always followed a whiskey very nicely. And quite frankly when the whiskey dried up there was always brandy, gin or even a sherry. To be honest I wasn’t fussy. If I was in the pub I could go to work. Me, Irish Jimmy Ruskin (John Cowley) liked to gather information. Observe everything that was happening around me. This knowledge had a price and that price paid for this here nice lifestyle of mine. I wasn’t made for lifting, grafting or labouring. My specialty was collecting crime intelligence and passing it on to my good friend, John. It just so happened that John was otherwise known as Chief Inspector John Edward Johnnoe (Nigel Patrick). Continue reading “The Informers (1963) Underworld Gangsters, Snitches And Inspector Nigel Patrick”

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”

Dillinger (1973) Warren Oates Is Public Enemy Number One

Dillinger (1973) poster one sheet art work bank robber

Heavy hitting gangsters all on the screen at the same time. This film portrays the notorious last years of bank robber and gangster John Dillinger and his infamous gang of men. Written and directed by a legend in his own right John Milius.

Set during the Great Depression in the early 1930’s this action packed movie follows the charismatic John Dillinger on his quest to relieve the banks of their funds. Following the deaths of several law enforcement officers during the carnage of the Kansas City Massacre in 1933 FBI special agent Melvin Purvis steps up on a personal mission to bring these hoodlums to justice. If that justice is at the hand of a gun and a smoking cigar, so be it. This is the story of the G-Men (the FBI government men) and their mission to put a stop the Dillinger Gang, the ruthless terror gang. Here are all the players surrounding our Public Enemy Number One…… Continue reading “Dillinger (1973) Warren Oates Is Public Enemy Number One”

High Sierra (1941) Bogie, Ida & Special Guest Star, Zero The Dog

High Sierra (1941) Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino poster art photo

When the best thing in a film is your own blooming terrier dog showing off and stealing all the top scenes right from under your nose. What was Humphrey Bogart to do with this camera hogging pooch Zero, well he had to up his game and show his four legged friend who the boss was! And work his ass off he did. Continue reading “High Sierra (1941) Bogie, Ida & Special Guest Star, Zero The Dog”

Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Panting Barefoot Panic Starts The Hammer

Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Robert Aldrich Ralph Meeker film noir poster

And there I was sitting in a world where Stacy Keach was the only Mike Hammer from the hands of crime novelist Mickey Spillane. Stacy’s Mike smashed his way though our 80’s television screens like a, well, Hammer. Stacy Keach was perfect for the part as the tough, gruff and brutally efficient, hard-boiled private investigator. I just didn’t know there was a whole gang of different Mike Hammer’s bringing justice throughout the ages. Kolchak The Night Stalker very own Darren McGavin played him in a 50’s series and in a universe defying paradox, creator Mickey Spillane actually plays his own “baby” in the 1963 film The Girl Hunters. (I need to see this) Continue reading “Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Panting Barefoot Panic Starts The Hammer”

Blast of Silence (1961) The Hired Hate Of Harlem Hitman

Blast Of Silence (1961) Criterion Allen Baron Neo film noir drama hitman

Just as our anti-hero hitman emerges from the subway tunnel womb to the sound of that great gravelly voice of Hart To Harts Max (Lionel Stander) I knew this was going to hit that bell at the top of my Wolfie meter with a sledgehammer blow. Blast Of Silence smashed me square in the chest with two slugs of a blasting revolver.

Narrator – “Remembering out of the black silence, you were born in pain.”

Blast Of Silence (1961) Allen Baron Neo film noir drama smoking arrival train NY Continue reading “Blast of Silence (1961) The Hired Hate Of Harlem Hitman”

Murder by Contract (1958) Hitman Tells You A Stranger Kills A Stranger

Murder by Contract (1958) Movie poster Vince Edwards Irving Lerner

Hitman Claude – “Have you boys ever killed anyone?… Well?”

“I thought not.. It’s not easy, you know. You read in the paper about some wife doing away with her husband, child murderer, knifing in a tavern brawl… These are crimes of passion. Crazy people off their rocker.

Then there’s the tigger-happy hoodlum, the kid that kills a gas station attendant because he can’t open the cash register fast enough. That’s another type of crazy person. Both types eventually get caught. They don’t plan. They can’t. Even if they did, it’d be no use. The only type of killing that’s safe is when a stranger kills a stranger. No motive. Nothing to link the victim to the executioner. Now, why would a stranger kill a stranger?

Because somebody’s willing to pay. It’s business. Same as any other business. You murder the competition. Instead of price-cutting, throat-cutting. Same thing. There are a lot of people around that would like to see lots of other people die a fast death. Only they can’t see to it themselves. They got conscience, religion, families. They’re afraid of the punishment, here or hereafter. Me, I can’t be bothered with any of that nonsense. I look at it like a good business. The risk is high, but so is the profit.”

Marc – “You’re a real superman, ain’t you?”

Continue reading “Murder by Contract (1958) Hitman Tells You A Stranger Kills A Stranger”

Caged (1950) Broads Behind Bars! Boosting, Bruising and Brawling

Caged (1950) eleanor parker agnes moorehead womens prision jail noir

Could this be the only film centred around the life of the female penitentiary system to get nominated for the Academy Awards?  This 1950’s film, Caged, showing the cutthroat everyday life of a women’s prison managed to have three stabs at the Oscar. Best Actress in a Leading Role Eleanor Parker beaten by Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday. Best Actress in a Supporting Role Hope Emerson beaten by Josephine Hull in Harvey. Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Virginia Kellogg & Bernard C Schoenfeld beaten by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and D M Marshman Jr with Sunset Boulevard. Now with that said there was some tough competition in those nominee categories and truth be told Caged isn’t as good as them but it sure is blooming fantastic.

Tagline – Will she come out a woman or a wildcat?

Continue reading “Caged (1950) Broads Behind Bars! Boosting, Bruising and Brawling”