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The Glass Key [VHS] (1942)

Alan Ladd , Veronica Lake , Stuart Heisler  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

The Glass Key [VHS] + Blue Dahlia [VHS] + This Gun for Hire (Universal Noir Collection)
Price for all three: $41.01

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy, Bonita Granville, Richard Denning
  • Directors: Stuart Heisler
  • Writers: Dashiell Hammett, Jonathan Latimer
  • Producers: Buddy G. DeSylva, Fred Kohlmar
  • Format: Black & White, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: April 28, 1998
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1558800573
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,515 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

This film was never released on DVD. This is the first release on VHS, by MCA Home Video.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Ladd/Lake vehicle, good book adaptation February 23, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
There are many reasons to check out this film. First, it is the second and best on-screen teaming of Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake (they were first paired in This Gun For Hire with Ladd playing the bad guy) Second, it is based on a novel of Dashiell Hammett whose exterior narration style transfers very well to screen. Third, it's just a good 40s whodunit.
The book is toned down but for the most part its satire of politics is allowed to remain intact. Most of what gets eliminated are subplots and partying which, though interesting, do not add to the story much. The movie is much leaner but less complex than the book but it is still faithful to the overall spirit.
Alan Ladd plays a tough guy/toadie to a local politician, Madvig, who has his fingers in a few too many pies. Madvig falls in love with Veronica Lake and burns a few political bridges to win her hand. Lake is the daughter of a senator, one of Madvig's political rivals. All seems to be going well until Lake's no good brother is found dead in a gutter and all fingers point at Madvig. The only person who seems to care about proving him innocent is Ladd. Even Madvig seems determined to get himself convicted. Ladd becomes obsessed with finding out the truth and goes through beaurocratic red tape, underworld sleaze, a torture session and his own feelings for Lake to find out who the real killer was.
Alan Ladd does a great job in the strong-silent role. He is stoic without being cartoonishly so. (The injury makeup is so convincing that you want to flinch for him) Veronica Lake is also good but really isn't given much to do besides show up onscreen in a series of ever more outlandish hats. (I love 40s fashion!) She isn't given any really good scenes until the last third of the movie.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "No wonder people beat you up!" April 3, 2005
By Dave
Format:VHS Tape
Although Dashiell Hammett's novel The Glass Key had already been made into a movie in 1935 starring George Raft, Paramount decided to cash in on the popularity of Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, whose on-screen chemistry in the classic "This Gun for Hire" made it a box office hit. While this is not the best Ladd/Lake movie, it's still a very entertaining noir mystery with an unexpected twist at the end.

Alan Ladd plays Ed Beaumont, the right-hand man of crooked political boss Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy). Madvig is madly in love with Janet Henry (Veronica Lake), who has agreed to marry him if he backs her father, aging politician Ralph Henry (Moroni Olson), as a candidate for mayor. But when Janet meets Beaumont, the mutual attraction is immediate, and she begins flirting with him behind Madvig's back. Meanwhile, Madvig strongly objects to his teenage sister Opal (Bonita Granville) carrying on a romance with Janet's playboy brother, Taylor (Richard Denning).

When Taylor's murdered body is found, Madvig becomes the prime suspect, and he gets Ed to try and find out who the real killer is. Nick Varna (Joseph Calleia), a powerful gangster with political ambitions of his own, begins a smear campaign against Madvig. Ed begins to investigate the sinister Varna, but he ends up getting a savage beating from Varna's bodyguard Jeff (William Bendix, who gives one of his finest performances). Later one of Varna's mob is shot to death and the police arrest Madvig on circumstantial evidence. Will Ed be able to clear his boss while finding out the real killer of Taylor? Watch and find out!

Although the beautiful Veronica Lake has far too little screen time, her scenes with Alan Ladd are terrific. His tough guy image was used to perfection in this complicated yet gripping mystery.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good adaption of an excellent book. April 11, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I was impressed how this movie stuck very close to the story and dark overtone of the book itself. I highly recommend the book, you will get a sense of Hammett's brilliance as a writer. The movie itself stands fairly well by itself. Alan Ladd plays the dark hero (Ed Beaumont, Ned in the book) and henchman of political magnate Paul Madvig. Madvig is currently busy on promoting his newest senator candidate into power. Madvig's sister however is secretly seeing the candidate's gambling, conniving son behind his back. After an ultimatum by Madvig to his sister, the senator's son is found shortly thereafter dead in the street. Thus the mystery begins. Veronica Lake (who is stunningly beautiful) plays the senator's daughter who Madvig is in love with. Won't go into more detail, but will say that it is well worth your time to both watch the movie and read the book. Crime noir at it's best.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Supporting Cast August 30, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake star in this remake by Paramount of the Hammett classic. Brian Donlevy has the role of Paul Madvig, the political boss. The script is not too faithful to Hammett's original work but I still recommend the movie. William Bendix and Joseph Calleia round out a strong supporting cast.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between the duty and the friendship! February 18, 2008
Ed Beaumont is the smart assessor and chief aide of his boss Paul Madvig who took from the dark gutters in order to occupy this coveted status. However, he is overtly opposed to Madvig's decision to support Senator Henry's reform ticket in the next elections, because he guesses Madvig is being used by the senator and his beautiful daughter. The reform includes the elimination of the vice and gambling, which will arouse the enmity of Nick Varna, the principal racketeer of the city. And when Senator Henry's son, Taylor Henry, is in love with Paul's sister Opal Madvig is killed, Paul is implicated but he refuses to defend himself. So with the purpose to discover what's behind stage Ed pretends to work for Varna, but soon Nick realizes the set up and Ed is sadistically beaten by his henchman Jeff. Then Ed realizes the hidden interests among Nick and Mathews (a newspaper publisher).

These are the pieces in motion that gradually will conform a superior, smart and tense script that will involve you until the end of this absorbing Noir, in which William Bendix as the sadistic gangster steals the show although his brief appearance.

One of the smartest and most emblematic Noirs ever filmed
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as Thematically Sophisticated as It Might Be, but a Strong,...
"The Glass Key" was probably Dashiell Hammett's most skillfully written novel, and it was made into a hit film in 1935, just a few years after the book's publication. Read more
Published 10 days ago by mirasreviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Noir at its height - almost Brutal beyond enjoyment.
For a 1940's mystery/action film this is massively brutal. Some scenes were just hard to watch; however, the Veronica Lake/Alan Ladd chemistry is worth the film alone.
Published 2 months ago by William Lance Lenon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
I have watched this movie for over 50 years. Ladd and Lake and Donlevy do
a superb job and William Bendix as the psycho gangster is superb. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. C
5.0 out of 5 stars The Glass Key
Alan Ladd, William Bendix and Veronica Lake, three of my favorite movie stars. Made in 1942 and I can remember going to the movies to see them. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Conrad T. Heslin
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Classic !
Very enjoyable, great to be able to still find this movie. Lake and Ladd have a chemistry that makes this movie. I would highly recommend this to all classic movie lovers.
Published 3 months ago by Rodney J. Wawryk
4.0 out of 5 stars THE GLASS KEY (1946)
The second and best version of Hammett mystery. Great cast, headed by Alan Ladd. Brian Donlevy, William Bendix, Veronica Lake and others make this a classic tale of betrayal and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by James R. Morrella
3.0 out of 5 stars THE GLASS KEY
Not very good. Brian Donlevy came off best as a feisty crooked politician. Alan Ladd was OK, and William Bendix was fun as a psychotic gangster. Plot so-so. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Hyman Sisman
5.0 out of 5 stars "I just met the swellest dame and she smacked me in the kisser... I am...
This is a very good "film noir" mixing gangsters, politicians, a whodunnit and one of "swellest dames" in all history of cinema. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Maciej
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good at all!
I knew going into this that it would not hold up anywhere to Hammett's complex plot. And indeed it didn't. What is worse is the screen play. The movie settings are cheesy. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Steve Dossey
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD!
Every version of The Glass Key is excellent and this one is no exception. The sound and picture quality of the dvd is superb. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jakester
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