The Glass Key

 

Glass-Key-6-620x400

THE GLASS KEY—-“No, I don’t want you hangin’ around. I might start makin’ passes at ya. Besides, that lousy brother of yours needed killin‘.”  That’s Alan Ladd, flipping it to a minxing Veronica Lake, in the hospital where her brother lies plugged.  Just one of a trove of sarcastic exchanges that ripen the Jonathan Latimer script to this boss 1942 mystery.  Taken from book by Dashielle Hammett, it’s a great oldie entertainment, plotted with just the right convolutions, directed by Stuart Heisler with a with foot on the accelerator for 85 minutes.

tumblr_lmb22h2ZKD1qchzcgo1_1280

My first wife was the second cook at a third-rate joint on 4th Street.”

Coming on with assured Movie Star cool, Ladd plays the trouble-shooter pal of a rough politician on the make (the ever solid Brian Donlevy), making wise with every line.  Jealousy and the old double-cross dice things up.  23-year-old blonde ‘dish’ Lake adds the needed slink factor to the ballsiness and William Bendix comes on memorably in a classic rendition of a hulking, brutish bodyguard.  It’s a great bad guy part, pure to the era, and Bendix is allowed to deliver Ladd a couple of nasty pulpings, stopping to growl petulantly in his best Brooklynese “Aww, you mean I don’t get to smack Baby no more?”  He’s funny, but believably scary*, and all four of the stars give the most to the screenplays generous array of insults.

glass-key-cap-05

With Bonita Granville, Richard Denning, Joseph Calleia (“You talk too much with your mouth.“), Frances Gifford, Donald MacBride, Moroni Olsen and Dane Clark. It took in $2,830,000.

*He accidentally knocked Ladd out during one of their scenes and was so effusive in his apology that Ladd was deeply touched. The two became lifelong friends.

 

The-Glass-Key-(1942)---Alan-Ladd-710440

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s