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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A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Well I Thought It Was But It Wasn’t Really

A Matter of Life and Death (1946) The Criterion Collection Blu-ray artwork DVD

There I was in my teenage years lying on the back room sofa all alone drifting in and out of consciousness. Not only had I caught glandular fever but the doctor, in his wisdom, had prescripted the wrong antibiotics. The mix up had caused my whole body to breakout in a rash. It looked like scarlet fever and I was beside myself! In between the crazy itching and bouts of fever sweats I’d become drowsy from all the medication.  I was hallucinating. There I was making my way up the Stairway to Heaven! Continue reading “A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Well I Thought It Was But It Wasn’t Really”

Twelve O’Clock High (1949) Gregory Peck Savage General Of Bomber Command

Twelve O'Clock High (1949) Gregory Peck B-17 bomber pilots world war 2 movie poster

No sooner had I watched and posted about the superb World War Two bomber drama The Way To The Stars that all round good dude, Todd at Cinema Monolith recommends me the similar themed, Twelve O’Clock High.  I was soon to be transfixed on the plight of, 918th Bomb Squadron.

Twelve O'Clock High (1949) Gregory Peck B-17 cockpit mission bomber flying fortress General Frank Savage 2 Continue reading “Twelve O’Clock High (1949) Gregory Peck Savage General Of Bomber Command”

The Way to the Stars (1945) Johnny In The Clouds WWII Bomber Base Drama

The Way to the Stars (1945) Johnny In The Clouds poster film movie anthony asquith

Called The Way to the Stars in the UK and Johnny in the Clouds in the USA. This outstanding World War Two drama focuses on the lives of RAF bomber pilots during the course of the war. It shows the progression of new and improved aircraft being tested and flown into battle. Whilst following the day to day routine of the pilots responsible for flying them awaiting their next mission. Moving through the years of 1940 to 1944. It was released in the UK in June 1945 a few months before WWII had finished and overseas in the US during November. Continue reading “The Way to the Stars (1945) Johnny In The Clouds WWII Bomber Base Drama”

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”

Green for Danger (1946) Doctors, Flirting, Doodlebugs, Murder and Alastair Sim

Green for Danger (1946) Alastair Sims murder mystery whodunit movie poster

Joseph Higgins (Moore Marriott) was the friendly village postman. He fondly remembered back to before the war had turned his quaint little village into a WWII hospital. Now it was over run by doctors, surgeons and nurses. Being on the flight path of the German V1 rocket bombardment of England there wasn’t a day go by without that terrible sound filling the skies. The probability you were gonna be blown to smithereens was an everyday worry! Oh how he wished to be sat in the local pub knocking back a few bevvies with his mates. Continue reading “Green for Danger (1946) Doctors, Flirting, Doodlebugs, Murder and Alastair Sim”

Obsession (1949) British Politeness, A Hot Water Bottle & A Perfect Murder

Obsession (1949) The Hidden Room Robert Newton Sally Gray poster artwork

Storm Riordan (Sally Gray) is not to be confused with a certain naughty Stormy who turned tricks for a President with bouffant hair in her spare time. Or even be mistaken for that African American lady who causes pandemonium with her weather controlling superpowers when she’s in a bit of a mood. No, this Storm is a pretty normal lass, goes to work, likes the cinema and entertaining friends. She loves her cute little dog, Monty but unfortunately she has fallen out of love with her husband Dr. Clive Riordan (Robert Newton) Continue reading “Obsession (1949) British Politeness, A Hot Water Bottle & A Perfect Murder”

The Snake Pit (1948) Olivia de Schizo Journeys The Levels Of Madness!

The Snake Pit (1948) movie poster film artwork olivia de havillandMaybe it’s an insight into my own fractured mind but I do enjoy a good insane asylum film. Traveling into the depths of madness. They do have to be done well and feature deep thoughts on the subject. Films like David and Lisa and Shock Corridor have score high on my wolfy meter. Continue reading “The Snake Pit (1948) Olivia de Schizo Journeys The Levels Of Madness!”

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”

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”