The guy knew where Sugar Joe was holed up, I could see it.
He was playing tough so I tapped him on the jaw with the business end of my Colt. The guy sat back in the chair in a second, guess he was a tough guy after all. I asked him again, he told me to go spit. Another harder tap with the barrel on his jaw threw his head to the side and threw his rebellion out of the window into the street.
"The Yacht Club you son of a bitch. He's bein' kept at the Yacht Club."
"Who's got him?"
"General Price. The old man's got a keen eye for muscle and Sugar Joe fits alright."
Welcome to the second entry for Film Flare's Film Noir week. After the treasonous shenanigans of last night's This Gun For Hire, we move on to:
The Glass Key (1942)
A tightly directed knot of betrayal, political intrigue and noirish murder. The film is a much more fleshed out film than This Gun For Hire which better uses the talents of Lake and Ladd far better.
After the grizzled anti-hero of Raven, it's nice to see Alan Ladd play a much more rounded, sympathetic character as Ed Beaumont. The character has his flaws (as is natural for a noir film), mainly his association and friendship with crooked polical man Paul Madvig (Brian Donley). Veronica Lake plays the daughter of a candidate for governor who is attracted to the enigmatic Beaumont.
The film is thrilling, gripping, and pretty brutal at times. Some parts of the film seem almost unseasonably violent, especially considering the influence of the Hayes Code on films in general of the era (this topic I'll discuss further over the weekend).
The script crackles with quick quips, funny remarks and makes each character either hard but sympathetic as in the case of Ladd's character, or smart and enigmatic in the case of Lake's character. In other cases, some characters of the gangsters are cold and violent whilst others are charming. Each character has their own personality and the plot whips along at a fair pace but never really confuses even though there are quite a few characters and threads of the plot to concentrate on.
As the film goes on it gets nastier and more desperate, both in terms of the actions on screen but also the direction gets more rapid and the score moves into faster tempo and you are carried along the way. The film moves quickly towards the final third act at a breakneck pace and it's only really here that the plot points of the film start to falter. Whilst the plot makes perfect sense, a lot of the motivations don't quite satisfy considering how well the plot is told.
Certainly the film looks incredible, it's not quite a hauntingly black and white as This Gun For Hire but the film as a whole has a sumptous, vivid look to it that really works well. The scope of the film also works really well, the indoor sets and well as the outdoor scenes never overwhelm the senses and certainly there's nothing as pretty as the railyard scene from This Gun For Hire.
All in all, when the film ends it's a little abrupt but you end up satisfied.
A really good film.