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The Glass Key

USA 1942. Dir: Stuart Heisler. 85 min. DCP

Based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett, and reuniting Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake — fresh off their popular pairing in This Gun for Hire — this excellent early noir spins a moody, sadomasochistic tale of political corruption, sexual impropriety, and murder. Ladd is an up-from-the gutter political aide attempting to extricate his employer from a mob-hatched murder frame-up. Lake is the boss’s seductive fiancée. William Bendix, in a scene-stealing supporting role, is the sadistic thug who gleefully administers a vicious marathon beating to Ladd. Scripted by pulp writer Jonathan Latimer, and shot in low-key light by Theodor Sparkuhl, The Glass Key “remains the best adaptation of a Hammett story ... The Maltese Falcon excepted" (Robert Porfirio, Film Noir).


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