Smuggler's Blues (1984)
Lyrics :: Screen Captures
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Download Glenn accepting MTV Award for Best Concept Video (10 megs)
"Plot" Summary : In this award-winning video that inspired an entire episode of Miami Vice in which Glenn starred, Glenn plays a smuggler (his then-wife Janie plays the smuggler's female accomplice). The video is like a short movie, fitting the lyrics exactly and doing an amazing job of packing danger, suspense, and intrigue into a small segment of time. It's one of the most cinematic videos I've ever seen.
It opens with Glenn in a car with his friend and male accomplice, counting money. A drug deal is about to go down. Glenn is nervous, but his friend laughs off his concerns. As he goes in the building to complete the deal, Glenn stays in the car. For a split-second, he remembers when he and his friend were just kids on the street, before all this mess. Then he hears a gunshot. His friend comes running out, shouting that they have to get out of there right away. Something has gone wrong. As Glenn peels out, two men chase them, shooting. They hit and kill Glenn's friend. Glenn sees that his friend is dead and barely has time to react before he has to figure out a way to escape from the two guys who are now chasing him down in a car.
He knows he has to lose them somehow. When he's far enough ahead so that he's out of sight, he pulls the car over, grabs the suitcase full of money, then makes a run for it. He escapes by going to the roof as the guys run around looking for him on the ground. He makes it safely back to his hotel, but there's not much time before the two guys catch up. Sure enough, as he's talking to his female accomplice in his hotel room, one of the guys shows up in the lobby. Oblivious, Glenn is giving out instructions - "Here's a little money now, do it just the way we planned..." After she leaves, he takes a moment to grieve - "I'm sorry it went down like this, but someone had to lose" - before getting ready to go himself.
In the video's most suspenseful and clever scene, Glenn hurries down to the hotel's elevator bank and presses the button to go down. In the lobby, the bad guy has pressed the button to go up. We see the bad guy get into the elevator. Cut to Glenn, waiting. Cut to the elevator where the bad guy is cocking his gun. Cut to Glenn as the elevator door opens.... we're sure there's going to be a confrontation... nothing. After Glenn gets into the elevator and the doors close behind him, we are shown that there is a second elevator. Its doors open to reveal the bad guy. He's missed Glenn by seconds.
Glenn's not safe yet, though. He goes to a scuzzy bathroom at a gas station and gets in a stall, where he shaves and changes from his Hawaiian shirt and casual wear into a business suit. He slicks back his full, wavy hair and puts on sunglasses. As he leaves, he throws away the clothes, looking like a different person. He gets on a plane back to Miami.
Meanwhile, his accomplice is going through customs seemingly without any problems. Unfortunately, after she drives back to her place, the police catch her and take her in. She apparently rats out Glenn, because in the next scene, the cops come to his home and take him in for questioning as well.
The interrogation scenes are also very cleverly done. The verse matches up perfectly, as it appears Glenn really is answering questions - "They move it through Miami, sell it in LA..." The interrogation scenes of he and the girl are interwoven, and we see that time is passing as Glenn goes from being in his suit and tie, to no suit jacket, no tie, and a partially unbuttoned shirt. Finally, he's barely able to sit up straight, his hair is a mess, and he appears exhausted. However, they can't nail him. The girl was the one with the goods. She gets put in jail but the police must let Glenn go because they can't find anything in his stuff.
Glenn thinks he's home-free. However, as he's driving down the highway, he gets pulled over by what appears to be a motorcycle cop. Glenn reaches for his driver's license but when he turns to the "policeman" to show it to him, he's staring into the face of the bad guy from the opening... and down the barrel of his gun. The scene fades, and we hope desperately that Glenn has somehow escaped, but then the camera reveals him slumped over the side of the car. And in case anyone still has hope that he's only hurt, we hear a car radio play a news announcement: "Here are the top news stories this hour. Dade County Police are investigating the mystery shooting of a Miami businessman. At the moment, there appears to be no motive for the slaying..."
Crime doesn't pay.