Thursday, May 22nd, 2008


Year: 1942

Director: Stuart Heisler

Starring: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy, Bonita Granville

The Glass Key is the sort of movie you want to start over again just as soon as it is finished. If you were to say otherwise, you would be lying. I say this because the plot twists and turns all over the place as it rockets along through a tale of political corruption, murder, lust and violence.

Alan Ladd plays a resourceful young man who is motivated by loyalty to his good friend Paul Madvig, played by Brian Donlevy. Lucky thing for Madvig too, because he soon finds himself suspected of murdering the uncultivated son of a prominent politician. Ironically, the person he is accused of killing is also the brother to the woman he is smitten with, the sensual Veronica Lake.

Alan Ladd, as Ed Beaumont, works tirelessly to navigate the labyrinth of lies and corruption in order to uncover the truth and clear his friend’s name. He relentlessly and cleverly pursues the truth, even when his persistent perseverance lands him in a world of hurt.

This is a gritty film that must have been exceptionally shocking for its time, with countless depictions of violence, sexuality (including Alan Ladd horizontal on a couch with a married woman), brutality, and even suicide. Ed Beaumont feels like a precursor to James Bond. He is tough, suave, resourceful, and all the women want him. He is an admirable character and part of what makes his character a hero that really wins you over is his loyalty to a friend that quite frankly, is flawed. Brian Donlevy plays a man who is cocky, irreverent, crass, egotistical and boorish, yet Beaumont is faithful to his friend despite his weaknesses.

Some films from the 1940s hold up better then others. This movie is very reflective of films from that era, with some stereotypical portrayals of women, dialogue that comes across as silly at times, melodramatic moments and dated lingo. However, if you can get past the very apparent age of the film, there is a fun ride full of shocking twists, turns and content. This is one that is worth your time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is no official R1 DVD release of this film, but you can obtain a DVD copy of the film at freemoviesondvd.com

By Greg Dickson

By Katie Richardson

Once I finish my Frank Borzage project over at Rotten Tomatoes (I’ve been procrastinating so badly. I work all day tomorrow, and if we’re slow enough, I’m just going to sit down and write as many of the final 8 essays as I can before close), I want to do a list of my favorite romantic pairings in classic film. I did a similar list a few years ago, but that was about the actors and their chemistry, not the characters and their stories, which what I want to focus on mostly for this upcoming list. I’ve been working on it, but I’ve been having a tough time with it. Here are some ones that I really like and will definitely hope for find room for on the list from some obscure classics. And I’d love any input from you guys on this topic.

Bill and Trina – Man’s Castle

Of course, the couple from my favorite movie. I could write a book on the relationship between Bill and Trina. I recently posted a small essay about Trina as a heroine that covered a good deal of their dynamic. Maybe once I finish the Borzage thread, and before I start the couples list, I’ll do an essay about Bill’s side of the relationship.

Letty and Mr. Sherwood – Beauty for Sale

The age difference, the class difference, the fact that he’s married – it all makes for a great love story between two people who meet by chance, become friends, and fall in love, all while knowing they can’t be together. It all leads up to a really rewarding and lovely finale.

Zack and Mary – I’ll Be Seeing You

The war changed the way a lot of romantic dramas were done. I’ll Be Seeing You was one of the first films to really deal with the negative effects the war had on the boys who were coming home. The relationship between Zack and Mary overcomes all the emotional damage that they’ve both endured.

Larry and Blondie – Blondie of the Follies

I have a big soft spot for these kinds of romances. Two characters who obviously love each other so much, but have a hard time being together because the relationship isn’t really in either of their natures and they’re never on the same page at the same time.