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The Glass Key

Posted by martinteller on November 14, 2010

A twisted yarn about a political boss and a murder.  The Dashiell Hammett story also served as source material for Yojimbo and Miller’s Crossing, but this adaptation is generally pretty different from either of those films.  To be honest, I didn’t really care at all for the plot… political corruption tales don’t get me excited, and the story is rather convoluted, in typical Hammett fashion.  But taken scene by scene, the movie is mighty entertaining.  You can’t complain much about Brian Donlevy, Alan Ladd or William Bendix… all playing to type, but doing it in the way we all love.  And either Veronica Lake is a bit more interesting than she usually is, or she’s growing on me as an actress.  She certainly has a face made for the silver screen, anyway.  In terms of individual moments, probably the highlight for me was the scene where Alan Ladd is held captive (which ought to feel very familiar to any fan of Kurosawa’s work), not just for the brutality but also the tension and the cinematography and Bendix’s psychotic performance.  The film’s greatest asset is its dialogue, which really crackles.  Lots of classic lines.  As I said, though, I really didn’t engage with the main plot, and enjoyed this one mostly for the atmosphere.  Rating: 7


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