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|Index||17 reviews in total|
I had previously known Joe E. Brown more from brief clips and
caricatures than from anything else, and I managed to completely forget
the fact that he had done a wonderful job in a small role in "Some Like
it Hot". Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise for me to discover that
he was much more than just a goofy looking large-mouthed guy yelling
"heeeyyyyyyy!". In this film, he does an excellent job portraying Alibi
Ike, the small town hot-shot rookie pitcher with an excuse for
everything. Even when he does everything right, he's got an excuse for
why he didn't do better.
While helping his team win the pennant, he doesn't want to admit to the boys that he's actually fallen for a girl. His teammates, who are fully aware of what is going on, playfully goad him into one crazy excuse after another as he refuses to admit his romance. Brown gets excellent support here from Olivia de Havilland as his love interest and William Frawley ("Fred Mertz") as his grumpy manager, making this a thoroughly enjoyable film.
The Chicago Cubs finally win the pennant! And it takes Joe E. Brown's immortal character Alibi Ike to do it. William Frawley once again is superb in the supporting role, as the manager. Olivia De Havilland shines as the love interest. The rest of the supporting cast which includes Ruth Donnelly and Roscoe Karns are excellent. Director Raymond Enright keeps the film moving along in good fashion. The movie is predictable but it's a lot of fun getting to the end. The ending puts a lasting smile on one's face reminiscent of the movie "Some Like It Hot". This feel good movie hits a home run with this viewer. Take yourself out to the ballgame and enjoy!
I loved Lardner's short story and didn't really expect movie to have same punch. That said I love this movie; yeah, I'm a sucker for old movies. They didn't go on forever, had good pacing and terrific dialogue. This one fits the category. Joe E Brown is "goshdarnit" fun as Ike and just can't help himself. I've known people like this who have an excuse for everything. Yes, it's one joke but it's a funny one!
I came across this movie on TV and, though I'm usually not a huge fan of black and white movies, I found myself really enjoying this one! It's lighthearted and funny, and it was fun to watch a movie all about old time baseball as a big fan of modern baseball. The love story is basic, but worked in well, not overwhelming the baseball aspect of the movie. The fact that his love interest is the team manager's sister-in-law is interesting. And I liked the fact that the other players are always playing rookie pranks on him even though he is a young phenom. Definitely not a serious drama, and I don't think it would be hard to follow or "get" for someone who's not a sports fan as some of the newer baseball movies are. It's a great movie for a Sunday when your home team was rained out. I recommended this one to my baseball-loving friends.
Alibi Ike is a mildly amusing baseball comedy based on Ring Lardner's
character of a pitcher with an excuse for everything. It's a pretty
good example of Joe E. Brown's hayseed type character at the height of
his popularity. And of course because A Midsummer Night's Dream was
held up in release, Alibi Ike marks the debut of Olivia DeHavilland on
the silver screen.
Although Olivia has little enough to do in this film which is strictly a Joe E. Brown show, she's one pretty thing here. She was only 19 when she made this film and would have to wait through another film besides this one and the Max Reinhardt extravaganza before settling into her Warner Brothers niche as crinolined heroine, yearning for Errol Flynn to win her as he did in Captain Blood.
Joe E. Brown took naturally to this role, possibly because he was known as a very big baseball fan in real life. Playing his ever harried manager in Alibi Ike is William Frawley who in real life was also known as a baseball aficionado. Brown's son, Joe L. Brown didn't follow his father into show business, he became a well respected baseball executive best known as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates world championship team of 1960.
It's worth seeing the film alone to see how Joe E. Brown does that exaggerated windmill windup when he pitches. Funny as all get out, but in real life, a runner with the speed of Ernie Lombardi would have stolen two bases on him. Who's Ernie Lombardi, a Hall of Fame catcher with the Cincinnati Reds during this same period who was a legend for his lack of speed.
For baseball fans, and baseball film fans, make sure you don't miss this.
Alibi Ike (1935)
*** (out of 4)
Third in Joe E. Brown's trilogy of baseball films has him playing Frank X. Farrell who gets the nickname of Alibi Ike because he comes up with an alibi no matter what's thrown his way. He joins the Chicago Cubs and becomes a wiz hitter and pitcher but a woman (Olivia de Havilland) falls in love with him and tries to change his ways. I really wasn't expecting too much out of this film but was pleasantly surprised at how many laughs Brown gives off. I'm sure many will find him annoying but the jokes were written very well and Brown carries them without a hitch. de Havilland is nice as the love interest and the supporting cast is nice as well. The highlight is when Brown tells his fielders to sit down behind the pitcher's mound so they can watch him strikeout the side. Many real-life baseball players can be seen on various teams and even Jim Thorpe can be spotted.
Known as ALIBI IKE for his never-ending excuses, the brash
pitcher for the Chicago Cubs becomes involved with nasty
and a very pretty young lady.
Comic Joe E. Brown has a grand time clowning about in this sporting comedy based on a Ring Lardner story. Although many of the jokes & situations are very similar to his previous films, Brown is always worth watching, his huge mouth & rubbery face perfectly fashioned for eliciting laughs. Whether careening about the infield in a runaway jalopy, attempting an escape from kidnappers or commandeering a huge truck to get to the ball field, Brown consistently delivers the comedic goods.
Lovely Olivia de Havilland scores a home run, playing Joe's girlfriend in one of her earliest film roles. Gruff William Frawley does a fine job as the Cub's stern coach. Ruth Donnelly plays Olivia's older sister, but unfortunately this wonderfully talented comedienne is given little to do. Roscoe Karns is fun as the team's sarcastic catcher.
This was the last of Joe E. Brown's Baseball Trilogy, following FIREMAN, SAVE MY CHILD (1932) & ELMER, THE GREAT (1933).
This movie is a nice, enjoyable way to spend a weekend afternoon.
Nothing heavy or terribly dramatic, just the very comical and
entertaining Joe E. Brown, backed by an able supporting cast.
Brown is perfect as Alibi Ike, a baseball player who is a chronic liar but somehow manages to be likable despite this rather serious fault. Olivia de Havilland is young, very pretty, and engaging as Brown's somewhat frustrated but ultimately successful fiancé. And it's a treat to see William Frawley -- crusty old Fred Mertz himself -- as the baseball manager. Frawley was a real-life baseball fanatic, so he probably really enjoyed making this movie.
I loved Brown's crazy unique wind-up before pitching the baseball. He seems to be great with physical comedy. I think I read somewhere (can't remember where, so consider this unverified) that in real life Brown was very athletic, and the reason he wore full business suits, long sleeved shirts, and loose fitting baseball uniforms throughout this movie was that his rock hard abs and well-defined biceps conflicted with the loose and easy-going character he portrayed on the screen.
Got a free afternoon or evening? I'd recommend giving this film a try. And thanks to Turner Classic Movies for broadcasting the "uncensored" version of Alibi Ike! (See the Trivia section of the IMDb Alibi Ike site for more information.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I give this film fairly high marks for a couple of reasons. First, it's
very difficult not to like Joe E. Brown on screen. There's just
something sort of indefinable about him that makes you smile...and
often laugh...sometimes out loud. Brown makes the most of his role here
as a great baseball player that has the habit of not being able to be
quite honest about anything he says at all...and he not attempting to
be deceitful...he just has the CONSTANT urge to fabricate his response
to any question or situation. It's interesting here to also note that
Brown was a pretty athletic guy, so just right for this film.
This film was also the first to be released of a new actress -- Olivia deHavilland. And, she just as she always was. Delightful.
William Frawley (much later to be Fred Mertz) has a meatier role here than he did in most of his films...as the baseball team manager. And he's very good in it.
The other players, though key to the story are not names many of us know today, but they all do their jobs well, here.
The one downer to this film is the lack of an explanation. Why does Ike fabricate everything instead of just telling the truth? That is never answered.
Even for us non-sports-fans, every once in a while a baseball movie will come along that keeps us entertained. This is one of those films. Definitely worth a watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Joe E Brown gets a lot of mileage out of his character in this baseball
farce about the Cubs winning the World Series with Brown as an
outrageously funny pitcher. The director of this film started in
silents with a short comedy & a Rin Tin Rin film where Rin Tin Tin
plays another dog. That does not mean this is a dog.
The film is pretty entertaining as William Frawley plays the Cubs manager. This is one of the first of many sports films Frawley would do. As for Brown, he is an under-appreciated funny man who in his films always plays someone a bit eccentric. He is that character here for sure. The script is co-written by Lardner & the writer who did Torpedo Run & Command Decision later.
For a 1935 feature, while it is by no means a perfect film, it does hold up better than some others from the year it was made. Dreaming of the Cubs winning a World Series continues to this day & it might be a few more years before it happens yet as the Cubs are closing in on 100 years without a World Series Victory.
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