The Glass Key
When a corrupt politician Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy) is accused of murder, his friend and right hand man Ed Beaumont (Alan Ladd) is determined to track down the real killer. Fending off amorous advances from his boss’ fiancée Janet Henry (Veronica Lake) and attacks from gangsters with nothing to lose, Beaumont’s loyalty is severely tested.
[Veronica Lake] A little scattered in the beginning. It was interesting that one of the leads who had to be proved innocent was a horrible person. Especially in 1942, they tend to make things much more black and white than that.
It's hard to not be distracted by how short Lake is.
The Glass Key builds into an exciting and enjoyable film. The first half is a touch unfocused and rush, as they speed through character and plot development. When the second half settles and Alan Ladd becomes the primary focus, watching him disposing and out smarting villains is a real pleasure to watch. The film is also quite funny and the dialogue is silly, but a good kind of silly. This one is good old fashioned fun.
Some HIGHLY amusing dialogue, and one especially impressive stunt sequence. And that Veronica Lake was all right, too.
William Bendix as Jeff the Hired Goon was probably my favorite part, though. A tough for the ages!
Never mind that it ass-rapes the book, Heisler's film is marginal at best, taking by-the-numbers filmmaking into the stratosphere of tiresome, saved only by some great characterizations (William Bendix's Jeff is notably psychotic). Calleia's Nick Varna is now an Italian crook instead of a vile Irish Mob Leader, but the actor still nails the level-headed business savvy; Ladd and Donlevy - who couldn't begin to play these heavily abridged characters - aren't as fortunate.
I actually saw this around aug 22, not sure why It didn't make the list?
It's not a classic noir, but it's an entertaining one - great chemistry between Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake and a pretty dark edge, especially the scenes in which Ladd is kept prisoner and pounded to putty by crooks.