DVD Review: The Glass Key

Dashiell Hammett was a prolific writer of hard-boiled crime fiction in the 1920s and ’30s. His most famous creation was undoubtedly Sam Spade, famously portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. However, many of his works were adapted for film and television. Stuart Heisler brought Hammett’s favourite of his own works, The Glass Key, to life on the big screen in 1942. It’s a crime thriller with a hint of film noir.

Corrupt political boss Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy) pledges his support for the reform candidate (Moroni Olsen) in the upcoming elections after falling in love with his daughter Janet (Veronica Lake). Ed Beaumont, (Alan Ladd), Paul’s right hand man, is dubious about her intentions. When Janet’s wayward playboy brother is found dead, who just happens to be dating Paul’s sister, the finger of suspicion naturally falls on him.

The Glass Key is an unusual and intricately plotted crime drama. Veronica Lake is striking in the role of femme fatale and her onscreen chemistry with Alan Ladd is palpable. There’s so much going on in the background. It’s a fascinating murder mystery set to a background of political corruption, racketeering, and of course romance. The Glass Key is a superior crime drama with a great cast and clever direction.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by crime fiction and film expert Barry Forshaw
  • New visual essay on the film by Alastair Phillips, co-author of 100 Film Noirs
  • Rare 1946 half-hour radio dramatization of The Glass Key by The Screen Guild Theater, starring Alan Ladd, Marjorie Reynolds and Gene Kelly
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Extensive gallery of vintage stills and promotional materials
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tonci Zonjic

The Glass Key is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on Monday.

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