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Alibi (1929)

TV-PG | | Crime | 20 April 1929 (USA)
Chick Williams, a prohibition gangster, rejoins his mob soon after being released from prison. When a policeman is murdered during a robbery, he falls under suspicion. The gangster took ... See full summary »

Director:

Roland West

Writers:

Roland West (screenplay), C. Gardner Sullivan (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chester Morris ... Chick Williams (as Mr. Chester Morris)
Harry Stubbs Harry Stubbs ... Buck Bachman (as Mr. Harry Stubbs)
Mae Busch ... Daisy Thomas (as Miss Mae Busch)
Eleanor Griffith Eleanor Griffith ... Joan Manning Williams (as Miss Eleanor Griffith)
Irma Harrison ... Toots (as Miss Irma Harrison)
Regis Toomey ... Danny McGann (as Mr. Regis Toomey)
Al Hill ... Brown - a Crook (as Mr. Al Hill)
James Bradbury Jr. ... Blake - a Crook (as Mr. James Bradbury Jr.)
Elmer Ballard Elmer Ballard ... Soft Malone - Cab Driver (as Mr. Elmer Ballard)
Kernan Cripps ... Trask - Plainclothesman (as Mr. Kernan Cripps)
Purnell Pratt ... Police Sgt. Pete Manning (as Mr. Purnell B. Pratt)
Pat O'Malley ... Detective Sgt. Tommy Glennon (as Mr. Pat O'Malley)
DeWitt Jennings ... Officer O'Brien (as Mr. DeWitt Jennings)
Ed Brady ... George Stanislaus David (as Mr. Ed Brady)
Virginia Flohri Virginia Flohri ... Singer in Theater (as Miss Virginia Flohri)
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Storyline

Chick Williams, a prohibition gangster, rejoins his mob soon after being released from prison. When a policeman is murdered during a robbery, he falls under suspicion. The gangster took Joan, a policeman's daughter, to the theater, sneaked out during the intermission to commit the crime, then used her to support his alibi. The detective squad employs its most sophisticated and barbaric techniques, including planting an undercover agent in the gang, to bring him to justice. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A hair-curling thriller vibrant with the pulse of the underworld, asparkle with the glamour of the New York night clubs. (Print Ad- Southeast Missourian, ((Cape Girardeau, Mo.)) 24 September 1929)

Genres:

Crime

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nightstick See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Feature Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (Kino Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Features Chester Morris's only Oscar nominated performance, though nominations were not official that year. See more »

Quotes

Joan Manning Williams: I've had enough with being a policeman's daughter. And I don't want to be another policeman's wife
Buck Bachman: Well, now, what's the matter with policemen?
Joan Manning Williams: They think themselves great heroes.
Buck Bachman: Well, we've got to uphold the law.
Joan Manning Williams: Law! Is bull-dogging, third-degreeing people into confessing crimes they didn't commit, is that law?
Buck Bachman: No, but... Oh, I don't understand.
Joan Manning Williams: Of course you don't. You're a policeman. And you'll never understand!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Censored (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Never Seen a Smile Like Yours
(1929) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Justin Johnson and Eddie Frazier
Copyright 1929 by M. Witmark & Sons
Sung by Irma Harrison (dubbed by Virginia Flohri)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Classic Gangster Film: Overacted but Startling At Times
31 January 2010 | by jayraskin1See all my reviews

The acting is mainly from the silent film era, but the fact that it is a sound film actually makes it quite interesting.

The film is pre-Hayes Code and is startling in its violence. I don't think it was until 1937 and "Petrified Forest" (Humphrey Bogart) and 1951 "White Heat" (James Cagney)that such a psychopathic criminal was on screen. I don't think it was until 1970 and "Dirty Harry" (Clint Eastwood) that such a anger-filled cop was shown. The way the police are shown threatening to shoot a suspect and make it look like an attempted escape, really makes one see the need for Miranda Rights for suspects, something that didn't exist in 1929.

The lead performances by Regis Toomey and Chester Morris are memorable. This was Morris' first starring role and he went on to star in nearly 50 films over the next 10 years. In the 1940's he starred 14 times in the detective movie series "Boston Blackie". He did around 45 television shows in the 1950's and 60's.

This was Regis Toomey's first movie. He went on to star in some 25 movies over the next 5 years, before becoming one of Hollywood's most dependable supporting character actors in some 150 more films into the 1950's, often playing police detectives. He was in such classics as "His Girl Friday," "Meet John Doe," "Spellbound," and "Mighty Joe Young." He went on to appear on over 100 television shows from the 1950's to the 1980's. He costarred with Gene Barry in "Burke's Law" for three years in the 1960's.

Director Roland West did just two more films the following years starring Morris, "the Bat Whispers" and "Corsair." Unfortunately, he apparently became involved with real life gangsters and was involved in the tragic death of actress Thelma Todd, which abruptly ended his career. He shows a nice unique style here, with sequences of fluid camera movement inter-cut with quite static shots, a little like James Whale. It is quite similar to the other movies I have seen by him "The Bat" and "The Bat Whispers". If he had continued with films, he might be considered a great auteur today.

This is a must see for cinema buffs and especially lovers of gangster films.


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