A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.
Everybody in Donlevy's family is getting involved with Olsen. Donlevy's taken a shine to daughter Veronica Lake who can't stand him, but will put up with it for her father's sake. Donlevy's sister Bonita Granville is involved with Olsen's playboy son Richard Denning, not something that Donlevy approves of. When Denning turns up dead all kinds of questions are raised.
Donlevy has someone on his payroll who takes care of these problems, Alan Ladd and Ladd's not particularly squeamish about the legalities of things. He starts investigating and at the same time tries to protect his boss's reputation. Not so easy as he finds out.
This was the second teaming Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd and they clicked as well as they did in This Gun For Hire. It was also the first time that Alan Ladd and William Bendix worked together on a film. Bendix became one of Ladd's best friends on the Paramount lot and his widow Tess Bendix was a prime source for Beverly Linet's revealing biography of Alan Ladd. Bendix portrays a truly malevolent thug who works for Calleia and he's pretty frightening. One of the best examples of a sadist ever done on the screen.
My personal favorite in this film besides Bendix is Joseph Calleia the racketeer kingpin of the city. He's one slick article as he usually is in most of his films and his fate is determined by something he really could not have foreseen.
The story by Dashiell Hammett on which this is based really does show how close politics and the criminal element mix, even the so-called 'reform' element. Even law enforcement is afraid to move here as typified by the very political district attorney Donald MacBride. He's not one to move against the local power structure unless he has to.
This version of The Glass Key is not too different from the 1935 version that starred George Raft and Edward Arnold. This one is seen more often and shows that corruption can be quite systemic in some of our local governments. Pity the poor voters.
- Nov 23, 2006