GLASS KEYS

The first (1935) adaptation of Hammett’s story, featuring George Raft

The second (1942) version of the film, which is my personal favorite of the two.

Here we have Ladd discovering the source of the mysterious notes. Does anyone know what kind of typewriter this is? From the chrome tops of the feet, I almost want to say it’s an Olympia, but I’m just guessing.

You can see Ladd’s reflection in the mirror as he spies on Lake.

Caught in the act of typing another anonymous note.


The Everyman’s Library series by Random House has two volumes collecting Hammett’s
work. You can get the volume featuring “The Glass Key” HERE

The original Black Mask magazine in which Hammett’s story first appeared.

Some book editions of the story.

14 thoughts on “GLASS KEYS

  1. I’d say the typewriter is a Royal, not much different from my Companion. What makes me think so is mostly the chrome decoration line and the top cover shape. On the other hand, the tabs on the back seem much like the ones found on Olympia SMs. But Olympia had a significantly different pre-war design, only with the escape to Wilhelmshaven, the “modern” design was introduced.

    • Yours has the metal covering the feet like that? I’ve never seen that before. I had a 1930s Royal Quiet Deluxe, but the feet were not covered like that. MIne was a really early version, prior even to the chrome strip around the ribbon cover.

      • The royal Arrow and good companion never had the chrome strip – except for the British version. The QDL had the chrome however. The feet are often just black, but there are chromed versions out there. It’s just that for some reason the feet seemed to tarnish faster than the rest of the typewriter.

  2. I agree that it looks like a Royal — and keep in mind that Olympias would be rare birds in the U.S. until after WWII.

    I confess I’ve never heard of this story or the films. I must brush up on my hardboiled/noir knowledge.

    • As I noted, the latter version isn’t on dvd, so unless you caught it on VHS, you probably won’t encounter the film (I’m not sure if the 1st film was released in this country at all. I bought my dvd from an online Canadian dealer).

      As for brushing up on your hardboiled/noir, I’ll try to keep sharing more on this topic.

      • Maybe next up will be the early Eighties mini-series of “The Dain Curse”, starring James Coburn as The Continental Op? Of course, for tv audiences, they had to give Hammett’s un-named hero a name, so the writers came up with Hamilton Nash. It just occurred to me, after all these years, that they were aiming for something similar to Dash Hammett.
        Originality is dead.
        Nice write-up on “The Glass Key”. I’ve never seen that one. Added to the list.

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