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

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