5.8/10
677
20 user 13 critic

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 »
Reviews
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 ... 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) See more »

Genres:

Crime

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A policeman tells the telephone operator he wants an ambulance "PDQ." That was slang of the period for "pretty damn quick." See more »

Goofs

When the police do a test drive to see if Chick had enough time to commit the crime of which he is accused, they drive from the starting point to the crime scene, then turn around and drive back. They have not allowed any time for him to have committed the crime. 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 »

User Reviews

 
Ages about as well as milk!
13 February 2008 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Aside from wine and cheese, not all things age well. Like a gallon of milk, over time this film has started to sour--thanks mostly to changing and improving film-making. In fact, had this film been made just a year or two later, it would have been much easier to sit through. Unfortunately, this can be said of most films made in 1929. This was a transition period in which silent films were changing to sound and the technology frankly wasn't very good. Plus, since this was all new territory, the films tended to be very, very stagy--mostly because the sound men had no idea how to compensate for people as they moved away or towards microphones. This is all painfully obvious with ALIBI. Some characters are loud and easy to understand, others appear as if whispering and others have their voices fade as they move. Additionally, the film looked a lot like a play in parts as they used very long single shots with few inter-cut scenes. Plus, it was obvious some scenes were originally filmed as silent because the standard 24 frames per second (used for all sound films) made these segments seem like people were moving too quickly (as silents were filmed anywhere from 16 to 22 frames per second).

As for the plot, it's a crime drama with a lot to like and a lot to hate. I liked how, at times, the film was rather gritty--particularly in the last few minutes (the building scene at the very end was amazingly tough and memorable--one of the best death scenes in film history). Some may also like how the cops in the film pretty much ignore the Bill of Rights--and weren't above slapping a confession out or someone or threatening them with guns! Some may also be appalled, but this is truly Film Noir-like in its sensibilities. But, the plot also is really stupid at times--with some of the dumbest criminals you'll ever see in films, clichés galore and a very sappy death scene that will practically make you cringe.

Now as for the plot. For 1929, it was really quite good. If we'd had IMDb and the internet back then, a score of 7 or 8 wouldn't be unexpected. However, by today's standards, I'd have a hard time giving it anything more than a 2 or 3. So, splitting the difference, a 5 seems appropriate--for the time, a very good film but when seen today, it's terribly old fashioned and dull.


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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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