The Glass Key (TGK)
gets Team Bartilucci's vote! Dashiell Hammett, one of my writing heroes, wrote his hard-boiled crime novel
in 1931, and like virtually all of Hammett’s novels, TGK
became a best-seller and a classic. Hollywood got ahold of it twice: first came the 1935 version starring Edward Arnold, George Raft, Claire Dodd, and Ray Milland
; then came the 1942 version starring Brian Donlevy, Alan Ladd, and Veronica Lake. I’ve only seen the 1935 version once, and I’m afraid it didn’t really grab me — but the 1942 version is one of my favorite films, so that’s what we’re focusing on this time around! The film gets off to a snappy start at the campaign headquarters of a city that isn’t identified but brings to (my) mind a cross between Chicago and Baltimore. Paul Madvig (Donlevy), aptly described on my 1989 paperback edition of the novel as “a cheerfully corrupt ward heeler,” breezes through the crowd, leaving both brickbats and bouquets in his wake:
“He’s the head of the voters’ league.”
“He’s the biggest crook in the state.”
“I hear he feeds a thousand people a week.”
|A new type of ploy|
Paul is against Senator Ralph Henry (Moroni Olsen from Hitchcock’s Notorious,
and the Father of the Bride
movies) and his Reform Party: “If Ralph Henry’s so anxious to reform somebody, why don’t he start on that son of his? He gets in more jams than The Dead End Kids.” A beautiful, petite blonde has been listening. She greets Paul with a resounding slap in the face (pretty impressive, considering she’s wearing gloves! I’ll admit I didn’t think about that until Vinnie pointed it out — that’s how quickly I got into the story). “That’s for talking about decent people,” she snaps. “A little reform wouldn’t do you any harm. As a matter of fact, I think it would do the state good if someone would reform you.
Get out of my way, you cheap crook!” Since TGK
is a 1942 crime drama and not real life here in 2012, where people sue each other at the drop of a hat (and what charming chapeaux the gals in TGK
were wearing that season!), Paul is immediately smitten as he watches the feisty lass storming out. “Hey, what a slugger,” he says, grinning as he rubs his aching jaw and finds out he’s been slapped by Senator Henry’s elegant patrician daughter Janet (Lake). Paul can hardly wait to break the news to his right-hand man and close friend, Ed Beaumont (Ladd): “I just met the swellest dame...she smacked me in the kisser!” Although TGK
is set in the early 1940s, I’m hearing a song from another era in my head: “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” On the one hand, I get a kick out of the rollicking way Paul cheerfully bulldozes his way through life, but on the other hand, he’s also an impulsive, hot-headed guy who all too often acts before he thinks. Ed’s usually good at keeping Paul from letting those impulses backfire on him.
|Finding Taylor dead in the street curbs Ed’s enthusiasm!|
|Poor "Snip" fought forlorn, and forlorn won.|
|Tough politicians need good dental hygiene!|
|Nurse Frances Gifford likes Ladd's bedside manner!|
But things get complicated. Janet Henry is turning Paul’s head, and he’s sweetened the pot with an eye-popping engagement ring. Paul’s rival Nick Varna (Joseph Calleia from After the Thin Man, My Little Chickadee, Gilda, Touch of Evil)
is out for payback after Paul closes Nick’s casino. Nick’s vicious henchmen, Rusty (Eddie Marr from Mr. Moto’s Gamble
and Mr. Moto on Danger Island,
as well as
Disney’s The Reluctant Dragon
— in which a young, uncredited, pre-star Alan Ladd played a storyboard artist, while supporting actress Frances Gifford played the voice of the train!), and sadistic cohort Jeff (William Bendix, scary yet darkly funny in Hissable Thug mode a la The Dark Corner),
are closing in. The situation only gets worse when Ed finds Janet’s irresponsible brother Taylor (Richard Denning of Creature from the Black Lagoon; No Man of Her Own;
the TV series version of Mr. and Mrs. North
) dead in the street, his skull apparently fractured by a blunt instrument. Every finger in town seems to be pointing to Paul as the killer. The grieving Janet is angling for Ed to help him find out who killed Taylor, and the reluctant yet undeniable attraction growing between Ed and Janet is stirring things up all the more. Even Paul’s 18-year-old sister Opal, affectionately called “Snip” (Bonita Granville, Oscar-nominee from 1936’s These Three,
and heroine of the Nancy Drew
movies from the late 1930s! She also went on to be executive producer of the early 1970s Lassie
TV series) thinks Paul killed Taylor, making the situation even tougher since Snip was in love with the big dope (even though Taylor kept “borrowing” money from her to pay off Taylor’s gambling debts; boy, she sure can pick ’em!). Then there are those mysterious typed notes about Paul, insinuating that Ed knows more than he’s telling. On top of that,
Snip must live an awfully sheltered life with Paul, because she stubbornly insists that all the wild stories Paul’s enemies are printing in the paper surely couldn’t be printed if they weren’t true — sheesh!
It’s a good thing Ed is a cool, wily guy who wears a fedora, because he’s got to play detective if he wants to keep Paul out of the electric chair!
After a spat with Paul, Ed throws in with Nick Varna—or does he? Turns out Ed’s still on Team Paul, gathering evidence, but what a way to make his point! Poor Ed is attacked by a German Shepherd, and Jeff and Rusty hold Ed captive in a marathon beating, mostly from Jeff, who dubs our hero “Little Rubber Ball.” That scene always has me on the edge of my seat; it almost makes the classic slugfest in Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly
(1955) look like kids playing in a sandbox! Wally Westmore’s makeup effects for the savage beating William Bendix gives Alan Ladd looked convincing enough to make me wince! Heck, it seems like everyone was slaphappy on the Glass Key
set at one time or another. Ironically, bad-guy Bendix was a sweetheart in real life, at least with co-stars Ladd and Lake. According to Jeremy Arnold on the TCM Web site
, “During the film’s memorable beating scene, Bendix accidentally slugged Ladd in the jaw for real, knocking him out. (The take survives in the finished film.) Bendix felt awful and he burst into tears. When Ladd woke up, he was so touched by Bendix’s reaction that he became friends with the actor and requested him for many of his future films, helping him with his career as best he could.” Lake hit it off with Bendix, too, becoming close friends. “I came to adore the guy,” Lake wrote in her autobiography. “It was a platonic adoration for a marvelous human being.” Then there was another
real-life beating on the set, this one during TGK’s
opening scene, where Janet Henry had to sock Paul Madvig in the jaw. Lake and Donlevy had previously worked together in I Wanted Wings
(1941), and the experience didn’t exactly make them the best of pals, so when Lake did that scene, she actually slugged the guy! She wrote, “I’d learned in my Brooklyn youth to lead with the hip when you throw a punch…Every pound I owned was behind it when it caught his jaw.” When the irate Donlevy confronted her, Lake admitted she didn’t know how to pull her punches.” I’ll give you until the next take to learn,” he said and walked away.
|It's raining diminutive detectives!|
Might as well stay for dinner!
Brian Donlevy gets top billing in TGK.
His career and colorful life could fill a blog, a book, or even a movie of its own, including Donlevy’s war record and valor in battle (14-year-old Donlevy lied about his age to join the Army), as well as his roles in both silent and sound films as well as stage acting. In 1939, Donlevy earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor as sadistic Sgt. Markoff in Beau Geste
. His career soared with such box-office hits as The Remarkable Andrew; Nightmare
(which I’ve never seen, and want to. Paging TCM!); In Old Chicago; Wake Island; I Wanted Wings;
and Preston Sturges’ The Great McGinty (read Brandie’s great blog post about it in True Classics!).
But we of Team Bartilucci, especially Vinnie, know and love Donlevy best in the movie versions of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass
science-fiction novels, directed by Val Guest. Admittedly, Donlevy’s portrayal of scholarly British scientist Dr. Bernard Quatermass goes through some changes, probably to attract us excitable Yanks. Donlevy’s Quatermass is more the two-fisted type in The Quatermass Experiment
(a.k.a. The Creeping Unknown)
and Quatermass II: Enemy from Space
. Vin gets a kick out of these particular flicks; he feels that half the fun of Donlevy’s portrayal is that viewers half-expect Quatermass to just punch out the aliens and save the day!
|You'd think Nancy Drew could solve this case!|
|William Bendix is the spitting image of evil! |
Paramount Pictures must have blessed the day that Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake came into their lives! Back in those days, guys with the physical stature of 5-foot-6¼-inch-tall Alan Ladd didn’t always get the girl in real life, much less in movies, plus young Ladd was haunted by his tragic childhood. But talent scout and former actress Sue Carol saw something special in fair-haired, cool yet smoldering Ladd, and under her tutelage, his career began to take root. So did love: she became Mrs. Alan Ladd and stayed that way until his death in January 1964. By comparison, Donlevy practically towered over his co-stars at 5-foot-8!
Before Veronica Lake (born Constance Ockelman in Brooklyn, New York; I love it when my fellow native New Yorkers make good!) became a star as “The Peek-A-Boo” girl, thanks to her long blonde mane and her memorable performances in
Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels
as well as This Gun for Hire, TGK,
and I Married a Witch
(all in 1942),
she had bit parts in the late 1930s and early 1940s in films like Sorority House.
For the record, my 1995 edition of Halliwell’s Film Guide
describes the 1942 movie adaptation of TGK
thus: “Nifty remake of the (1935 version) which finds some limited talents in their best form, helped by a plot which keeps one watching.” I agree; to paraphrase our own John Greco of Twenty-Four Frames,
nobody could play Alan Ladd like Alan Ladd! Similarly, when Paramount teamed up Ladd with sultry, flaxen-haired, 4-feet-11½-inch tall Veronica Lake, who happened to be pretty darn good at playing Veronica Lake (and looking gorgeous in Edith Head’s costumes), it was the blond leading the blonde, and a new movie star team was born! According to the IMDb, Ladd and Lake made seven movies together: in addition to the films we've already discussed here, Ladd and Lake also appeared together in Star-Spangled Rhythm;
1945’s Duffy’s Tavern
and Variety Girl,
in which Ladd and Lake played themselves; The Blue Dahlia
(1946); and Saigon
|"Bear with me, Ed, all this|
intrigue has me easily distracted!"
Screenwriter Jonathan Latimer had adapted Kenneth Fearing’s The Big Clock
for the big screen, in addition to Alias Nick Beal (see the great review over at Jim Lane’s Cinedrome)
and the long-running TV series adaptation of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason
, among many others. Latimer’s tight, wry adaptation of Hammett’s novel was right on target, with director Stuart Heisler (The Monster and the Girl; Along Came Jones; Smash-Up)
ably playing to his stars’ strengths. Victor Young’s score deftly blends sweetness and menace. An uncredited young Dane Clark (also in Wake Island)
plays Henry Sloss (his character was “Harry
Sloss” in the novel). Clark gets a memorable opening scene: after mouthing off about Janet Henry, Paul throws Sloss through a window and into a fountain! Of the three TGK
stars, Donlevy did well for himself, but Ladd and Lake sadly fell on hard times both physically and emotionally as they got older; both died at the age of 50. However, Donlevy continued to have a steady acting career, including his 1952 TV series Dangerous Assignment.
According to the IMDb, he retired to Palm Springs, CA until his death from throat cancer in 1972 at the age of 71. However, in his retirement, Donlevy wrote short stories and ended up owning a prosperous California tungsten mine — good for him, I say!
|When you work for Paul Madvig, bring water wings!|
|Having a dish like Janet at his bedside would perk up any guy!|
|Hold onto your hats: Janet and Ed are playing for keeps!|
(Cheer up, Paul, a big politician like you won't have trouble finding a new babe!)
Thanks for the shout-out--Team Bartilucci is the bee's knees!! Really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this film, and the background about the production. I'm actually about to tackle a long-winded post about Veronica Lake's oh-so-loving (feel the sarcasm) relationship with her male lead in I Married a Witch (for the Fredric March celebration at Sittin' on a Backyard Fence). It doesn't surprise me a bit that she had a clash with Donlevy--she was a bit of a prickly pear, but by God, that woman didn't take any guff from anybody!ReplyDelete
(By the by, the GIF at the beginning of this post? LOVE.)
Brandie, many thanks and you're welcome -- Vinnie and I think you're the bee's knees, too! I'm glad we could send some extra love for your excellent post about THE GREAT McGINTY, too. The nifty GIF was actually Vin's idea, bless him; he's definitely the computer genius in the family! :-) I'm looking forward to your upcoming I MARRIED A WITCH post for MARCH IN MARCH. As you put it so well, Veronica Lake was a prickly pear indeed, but it didn't seem to show onscreen. Anyway, like I always say about stars who are glorious onscreen but troublesome in real life, I don't want to marry these people (even if they were still alive), I just want to watch them do their thing onscreen! :-) Have a great weekend!ReplyDelete
Swell post, Dorian -- and I join Brandie in thanking you for the link, in my case to my Alias Nick Beal piece (what's the female equivalent of mensch? Whatever it is, that's you!). Jonathan Latimer had a memorable career, and researching my Beal post sent me off on quite a Latimer kick, looking up his (mostly out of print) novels; if this post does the same for you, you won't regret it. Maybe I'll post on Latimer again someday.ReplyDelete
I'm with you about the '35 Glass Key, too: not bad, but not nearly the grabber the Donlevy-Ladd-Lake version is; it's like comparing the '31 Maltese Falcon with the Huston-Bogart one -- which is to say, there is no comparison.
Jim, thanks and you're welcome for your kind words; I'm happy to be a distaff mensch on behalf of nice and talented folks such as yourself! :-) I must admit I'm feeling a Jonathan Latimer kick coming on as well; perhaps it's time I started looking on eBay or old bookstores to track down Latimer's fiction!Delete
I agree with you about the comparison between the early versions of THE GLASS KEY and THE MALTESE FALCON, too. A few years back, I wrote a piece for an amateur movie newsletter about the various versions of ...FALCON. Maybe I'll dust it off one of these days and see if it's worth running in TotED sometime. In the meantime, Jim, I'm looking forward to your next installment of your MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS series!
I feel like I've haven't stopped by TotED in ages! Then suddenly at 2 AM, I find myself here.ReplyDelete
I've yet to see Saigon, but The Glass Key is my favorite Ladd & Lake film at present. It has been a while since I've seen it though, and I'd forgotten about Bonita Granville!
I can't say I blame Miss Lake for disliking Brian Donlevy. He's one of my least favorite actors...and that is not a title I bestow lightly!
On happier subjects...that bit with Ed and his nurse is just hilarious and amazing. Can you imagine a scene like that in a modern film? It wouldn't work at all!
Also, if anyone is interested, The Glass Key is available on YouTube.ReplyDelete
Emm, I swear this very morning your ol' Auntie Dorian was wondering where you've been keeping yourself lately (life gets so busy for all of us). Then I turned on my PC mere moments ago and, to my delight, I saw your wise and witty comments! I'm pleased to hear you enjoyed the 1942 version of THE GLASS KEY as much as I do. Thanks for the tip about TGK being available on YouTube! TGK also turns up occasionally on TCM.Delete
Brian Donlevy may not necessarily be for all tastes, but he was certainly a good fit as the brash, two-fisted Paul Madvig. May I correctly assume you enjoyed the slapping GIF that Vinnie concocted? :-)
Like you, I get a kick out of the byplay between Alan Ladd and nurse Frances Gifford, too; talk about a great hospital plan! :-) That's another thing I enjoy about classic movies: those characters don't sue you for flirting with and kissing pretty nurses, unlike real life! :-) Thanks for dropping by and dishing about TGK, Emm; you're always welcome at TotED 24/7!
Well done! after my initial hearty lol at the nice gifs (pardon me while i make note to add some to my blog) moar gif in future, please! But not without cool captions, those make them extra tasty.ReplyDelete
Love this movie and Ladd/Lake, I never tire of watching or reading about them, and you did such a nice job with the bio details, lots that I didn’t know! Mainly the catalog of violence! Lol so many slaps and punches. But back to Ladd/Lake -- such a perfectly matched couple, there may be sexier or more beautiful ones, possibly with more tension, but I can’t think of any two who were just so cool and suited to noir and easy on the eyes, blondes against dark backgrounds certainly helped, but they have this world-weariness that just stands apart. So glad you hit all the players on and off screen, love when the “lessers” get their due and you always do that so well. Dane Clark, Bonita Granville wereso good here and everywhere. Gotta say I’m a Donlevy fan myself but can totally appreciate those who aren’t, since he was so good at playing a slime ; same goes for Zachary Scott I’d assume… (is it the ‘stache?)
Btw am also appreciative of you linking to other posts/writers, I always check those out and enjoy them all.
thanks & best! kristina
Kristina, thanks a million for your enthusiastic praise for my GLASS KEY post! I'm tickled that you enjoyed the GIFs that Vinnie helped me with; your SPEAKEASY posts are already fun to read as is, but I love the idea of you adding cool and witty GIFs, if you're so inclined. :-)Delete
As dynamic as Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, and Brian Donlevy are with their cool, compelling star chemistry, I'm glad you enjoyed my tips of the hat to the great character actors, too. Loved your comparison to Zachary Scott; I think you're on target about male actors with facial foliage on their upper lips! :-)
Stars are nice to look at, but I'm always drawn most to character actors; they fill in the background shadings that complete the picture, if you see what I mean. That's probably why I happen to like Adrien Brody, for example; to me, he's like a character actor and a leading man in one great package! But I digress.... Heck, I'm still in awe of your great Ward Bond post! (Hey, gang, if of you reading this haven't had the pleasure of reading that post, by all means go to this SPEAKEASY link:
Speaking of links to our fellow awesome bloggers' posts, thanks and you're welcome! We movie bloggers must help each other; in blogging as in life, we're all in this together! :-)
If there was one guy from Classic Hollywood I'd like to hang out with for a while, it would be Brian Donlevy. Well, in the real world, I can always just watch "The Glass Key".ReplyDelete
Oh boy, your tie-in to "The Reluctant Dragon" blew my mind. How many times have I seen both movies and not made all those connections? D'oh!
Caftan Woman, thanks for your comments; knowing you're a Brian Donlevy fan has me pleased as punch, no pun intended! :-) That's one of the great things about loving classic movies: they're kinda like hanging out with old friends for a few hours, and then you can put them away until the next time you watch them, without anyone outstaying their welcome! :-)Delete
Glad you got a kick out of my RELUCTANT DRAGON tie-in, too! Talk about SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, huh? ;-)
Great article. It really does point out that although Donlevy at his peak was not the star Ladd became, Donlevy had longevity. I just saw him on an episode of Perry Mason from 1966 or 1967. Obviously, the guy was still in demand!ReplyDelete
Gilby, thanks for your positive feedback about my GLASS KEY post! You made an excellent point about how in the long run, Brian Donlevy's career longevity trumped the white-hot star power that both Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake had for a brief time. I guess the lesson here is: if you become a star, enjoy your fame while you have it, and for crying out loud, SOCK AWAY YOUR MONEY FROM THE START just in case your success doesn't last! :-)Delete
Hey, I'm a PERRY MASON fan! Alas, I guess I missed the episode you saw, but you that you've brought it to my attention, I'll keep an eye on the Me-TV listings! Thanks for the tip!
I don't think I've seen this. Not a big Veronica Lake fan, but I like Donlevy. Will have to keep an eye out for this.ReplyDelete
In Harlan Ellison's "The New York Review Of Bird", Cordwainer Bird goes to visit his uncle, Phineas Thwombley, in order to get some information because, as he put it, Uncle Phineas knew more about New York City than anyone else.ReplyDelete
"Well," Uncle Phineas replied, "Billy Batson certainly knows more about the subway system than I do",
And I mention this because I finally accept the fact that not only does Dorian know more about movies than I do, she will Always Know More About Movies Than I Do! I've been taking notes, and I've figured out that, for every movie I see, Dorian has seen at least ten. She has probably sat through every MY LITTLE PONY movie ever made (even the one where Buttons is voiced by Snooki Polizzi . . . 2008's MY LITTLE SLUTSKI, directed by Roman Polanski's younger brother Yucaipa Polanski).
And am I bitter? Am I upset? Not in the slightest. For one thing, getting mad at Dorian is like getting mad because Dorothy Gale makes it to the Land of Oz before you do . . . or James Kirk gets a starship while you're still filling out the paperwork for the Starfleet Academy entrance examination ("References . . . references. Damn!"). Some things are just ordained. It's all part of the natural rhythm of the Universe.
For another thing, there are advantages to the situation. If Dorian manages to see eleventy-million and three movies each week (not counting what Netflix sends), then that simply means more movies for her to write about in her own initimable and 100% wholly edible fashion.
To shorten a long story (as a lot of you exhale in relief), the upshot of this is I HAVEN'T SEEN THE GLASS KEY! EVER! I've lost my car keys, but I don't think that's close (especially since Brian Donlevy wasn't involved, and I think I'd definitely remember if Veronica Lake was hanging around). But am I bitter? Am I upset? Not in the slightest. And this is because I have now sat back and read Dorian's comments on the film and came away refreshed, enterrained and invigorated (and informed) and am now ready to go on with life.
(Meanwhile, in another location, Dorian is sitting in the dark, peering intently at a flickering screen. "Aha!" she exclaims. "The 1931 print of I WAS A TEENAGE GREAT-GRANDMOTHER FOR THE FBI. Starring Lina Romay and Paul Harvey just before he had the kidney operation . . . plus a cameo by a meltingly young Sonny Tufts! Long thought missing but recently restored, including the original soundtrack by Spike Jones & The City Slickers. Directed by Judge Crater! Quick, Vinnie . . . the popcorn and Visine!"
Michael, your marvelously madcap drollery is always a source of boundless delight, and your rollicking comments about my GLASS KEY review had me laughing out loud, perking up this wintry day! "MY LITTLE SLUTSKI" and "I WAS A TEENAGE GREAT-GRANDMOTHER FOR THE FBI..." especially cracked me up!Delete
If you've got some free time and your computer is working, why not have a seat and enjoy THE GLASS KEY right now in its You Tube entirety? I'm betting you'll enjoy it!
And for anyone reading this, if you think our man Michael Wolff's witty, zany feedback is fun to read here at TotED, read his hilarious, warm-hearted romantic comedy novel COSIMO'S RAVEN, available from Amazon.com:
Thanks for your friendship and feedback, Michael, as always!
Kim, I've often found that even people who aren't Veronica Lake fans often like THE GLASS KEY. But since you like Brian Donlevy, I'm confident you'll enjoy the film if you get a chance! I haven't found it on DVD or VHS lately, but TGK turns up on TCM periodically, and it's currently on YouTube in installments.ReplyDelete
Fun review as always, Dorian! I think this is one of Ladd's best films, perhaps second only to THIS GUN FOR HIRE and SHANE. However, I must admit that Donlevy almost ruined his two QUATERMASS films for me. Give me Anrew Keir or John Mills!ReplyDelete
Rick, thanks for your praise of THE GLASS KEY; glad you enjoy the 1942 version as much we of Team Bartilucci do! While I wholeheartedly agree that Andrew Keir and John Mills are both absolutely stellar in their respective portrayals of Prof. Bernard Quatermass, we still enjoy Brian Donlevy's two-fisted performance as sort of a guilty pleasure! :-)Delete
Ladd and Lake make a good team and are very good at playing characters within their scope. The scene that sticks out in my mind is the brutal beating Ladd receives from "loveable" Chester Riley aka William Bendix. Rough even by today's standards. Ladd must have been black and white after making this film. I always liked Donlevy best when he is on the wrong side of the law. He makes for a sleazy low life. He really had a long and great career. Fantastically entertaining review as always.ReplyDelete
And thanks for the mention!
John, many thanks for your feedback, and you're welcome for the shoutout; you deserve it! You made a great point about "'loveable' Chester Riley a.k.a. William Bendix" in that harrowing beating sequence. Bendix sure had range, moving from lovable loudmouths to fearsome foes with ease. Wonder how long it took the cast to recover from their fight scenes? The durable Donlevy did seem to take well to "wrong side of the law" roles, bless him! :-)ReplyDelete
GLASS KEY, is of my favorite classic film noir's. I was amazed at some of the physical stunts. Especially, when Ladd escapes out of a broken window has him falling off an awning and crashing through the ceiling where a family is having dinner. Awesome! review as always.ReplyDelete
Dawn, beaucoup thanks for your enthusiastic comments on my GLASS KEY post! I agree with you, Alan Ladd's harrowing great escape is stunning -- almost literally, considering the stunts involved! :-)Delete
Well slap me silly, now that I'm out here in the P.Springs area, I have to find a tungsten mine. Love the review but for some strange reason I don't remember ever seeing Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd together--I must be jealous of the whole blond thing. Thanks for doing a marvelous review and I will keep my eye out for the Glass Key!ReplyDelete
Eve, good luck with your tungsten-mining! :-) If you decide to look for gold in the form of the golden tresses of Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd, I particularly recommend THE GLASS KEY, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, and THE BLUE DAHLIA. Thanks for your kind words, my friend; I'm glad you enjoyed my TGK review!ReplyDelete
Oh, I haven't seen this in ages, Dorian. Thanks for bringing it all back and with a vengeance, too. HA! I love your posts. They really do get at the intrigue behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera.ReplyDelete
Now, what is this about Alan Ladd's tragic upbringing? More details, please.
50 is way too young to die. Jeez.
Donlevy looks the type that would drop of a heart attack before the other two. But life is funny that way. Not funny, haha, but you know what I mean.
Yvette, your enthusiastic praise and playful comments always bring a smile to my face -- many thanks, my friend! I enjoy digging into the behind-the-scenes stuff with my favorite movies; it's amazing what goes into a movie and how the actors did that voodoo that they do so well! :-)ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm afraid that although Alan Ladd seemed to be a cool customer onscreen, he had a tough life in reality. It's a long-enough story that I've taken the liberty of posting Ladd's IMDb bio:
Veronica Lake died young, too (also 50), though from what I've read about her, she seemed to be a feisty gal - maybe TOO feisty, from what I've read. But I give her credit for not letting anyone push her around!
Yeah, Brian Donlevy did indeed "look the type that would drop of a heart attack before the other two," didn't he? Like the song says, it goes to show you never can tell! But hey, good on Donlevy for living a long, productive life! And at least we can enjoy these talented folks' movies and TV shows for as long as we all live! :-)
Now I want to pull out my Disney Treasures DVD of THE RELUCTANT DRAGON and take a look! LOL. I'm so glad you called this post to my attention -- I make it a point to drop in here regularly but I missed this one when it first went up! (Based on the date, it was posted the day I ended my tour of four old movie theaters in 10 days -- took a while to recover I guess, grin!) Your note also makes me want to take another look at THE GLASS KEY. Loved both that and THE BLUE DAHLIA -- I should watch THIS GUN FOR HIRE...ReplyDelete
Over the last couple years I've become fans of both Ladd and Donlevy. Just saw Donlevy at one of the aforementioned movie theaters in THE BIG COMBO -- have you seen that one? He's the hearing-impaired lieutenant of a mob boss (Richard Conte). Very memorable! Found him sympathetic in KISS OF DEATH and a lot of fun in THE TROUBLE WITH WOMEN. Was also impressed by THE GREAT MCGINTY. Love the info on the tungsten mine!
Thanks for a great post which brightened my holiday. :)
No problem, Laura -- you've been a busy gal with your classic movie theater tour, lucky you! Thanks for your kind words about my GLASS KEY post! Believe it or not, I haven't had a chance to catch up with KISS OF DEATH or THE BIG COMBO yet, though I've seen enough clips from those movies to whet my appetite. So many great movies, so little free time! :-) Anyway, I hope you'll be able to revisit both THE GLASS KEY and THE RELUCTANT DRAGON (featuring another of my faves, Robert Benchley) sometime soon.Delete
I'm glad this Presidents' Day weekend gave us a chance to catch up with each other's recent blogs and movie news, Laura! Feel free to drop by for a visit here at TotED anytime!
Well, I actually managed to watch THE RELUCTANT DRAGON tonight, thanks to your inspiration! :)Delete
Incidentally, although she wasn't in THE RELUCTANT DRAGON like Ladd, Gifford, and Marr, Bonita Granville had an important connection with Disney in the '50s -- she and her husband built the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel's Bonita Tower and Granville's Steakhouse, both now gone, were named for her.
Laura, I'm glad you got a chance to catch up with the ever-delightful RELUCTANT DRAGON (and future stars Alan Ladd and Frances Gifford)! Happy to have helped in my own small way! :-) Thanks for the fun facts about Bonita Granville and hubby's crucial role in building the Disneyland Hotel, too -- I had no idea! Boy, there sure was a lot more to the busy Ms. Granville than NANCY DREW! By the way, Vinnie and I went to Disneyland as part of our honeymoon tour back in 1989. I guess it really is a small world after all! :-)Delete
Dorian, I LOVE what you did with The Glass Key, just love your witty writing style, and swift examination of the story. The photos are so much fun too! I am such a fan of Tales of the Easily Distracted, I'll be back around to read more!ReplyDelete
Joey, have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy not only your nifty blog THE LAST DRIVE-IN, but also but also your "Monstergirl" nom de plume? Your blog posts and trailers are always great fun to read and see!Delete
I'm so flattered and honored that you enjoyed my TotED take on THE GLASS KEY -- thanks a million for your enthusiastic praise! By the way, my dear hubby Vinnie deserves special kudos for the GIF photos with the witty captions; he's the computer genius in the family! :-)
Feel free to drop by TotED to talk about movies any time, and I'm always happy to read your always-enjoyable posts over at THE LAST DRIVE-IN! Aren't these mutual admiration societies fun? :-) Thanks again!
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