Ned Beaumont
Created by Dashiell Hammett

"I can stand anything I've got to stand."
-- Ned Beaumont

Unlike Hammett's other creations, Sam Spade, The Continental Op and or even Nick Charles, NED BEAUMONT is not a private eye. He's a political hanger-on, a cigar-smoking, hard-drinking gambler with a weakness for money and women. He's tall, slim, with a mustache, and obsessed with personal honour, More than one wag has suggested that he was, in many ways, Hammett himself (a charge also often aimed at Nick Charles, in fact), and they're probably not completely off-base.

He may not be an eye, but Beaumont certainly shares more than a few tributes with Hammett's other heroes (and Hammett himself), including, most importantly, a sense of loyalty and honour. Just as The Op pledges allegiance to The Continental Detective Agency, and Sam Spade sets out to avenge Miles Archer's death (even though he didn't like him much) so does Ned stick his own neck out, in the name of nothing more than friendship. To clear his pal, Paul Madvig, a flashy, corrupt politico, from a trumped-up murder charge, Ned takes the law into his own hands, in Hammett's The Glass Key, first serialized in Black Mask, and later published in book form in 1931.

It was later adapted into a film, in both 1935 and 1942.


  • "The Glass Key" (March 1930, Black Mask)
  • "The Cyclone Shot" (April 1930, Black Mask)
  • "Dagger Point" (May 1930, Black Mask)
  • "The Shattered Key" (June 1930, Black Mask)



    (1935, Paramount)
    80 minutes, black and white
    Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett
    Directed by Frank Tuttle
    Starring George Raft as NED BEAUMONT
    Also starring
    Edward Arnold, Ray Milland, Claire Dodd, Rosalind Keith, Ray Milland, Guinn Williams
  • THE GLASS KEY ..Buy this video ..Buy this DVD
    (1942, Paramount)
    85 minutes, black and white
    Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett
    Screenplay by Jonathan Latimer
    Directed by Stuart Heisler
    Produced by B.G. DeSylva
    Associate Producer: Fred Kohlmar
    Starring Alan Ladd as ED BEAUMONT
    Also starring
    Brian Donlevy, Veronica Lake, bonita Granville, Joseph Calleia, Richard Denning, Moroni Olsen, William Bendix, Margaret Hayes, Arthur Loft, George Meader, Eddie Marr, Frances Gifford, Joe McGuinn, Frank Hagney, Joseph King


    (1948-58, CBS)
    467 60-minute episodes
    Black & white
    Long-running live production, most famous, perhaps, for its production of 12 Angry Men, which later became a popular feature film.
  • Season One
    "The Glass Key" (May 11,1949)
    Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett
    Adaptation by Worthington Miner
    Directed by George Zachary
    Starring Donald Briggs, Lawrence Fletcher, Jean Carson

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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