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Midnight Alibi (1934)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Romance | 14 July 1934 (USA)
A gambler hides out for some gangsters in an old lady's house. Later he's arrested for murder but the old woman provides him with an alibi by saying he was with her on the night of the murder.


Alan Crosland


Warren Duff (screen play), Damon Runyon (story "The Old Doll's House")

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Complete credited cast:
Richard Barthelmess ... Lance McGowan / Robert Anders
Ann Dvorak ... Joan Morley
Helen Chandler ... Abigail Ardsley (Young)
Helen Lowell ... Abigail Ardsley (Old)
Henry O'Neill ... Jonathan Ardsley
Robert Barrat ... Angie Morley
Robert McWade ... Senator
Purnell Pratt ... Wilson
Harry Tyler ... Hughie
Paul Hurst ... Babe the Butcher
Arthur Aylesworth ... Louie the Blind Man
Vincent Sherman ... Black Mike


A gambler hides out for some gangsters in an old lady's house. Later he's arrested for murder but the old woman provides him with an alibi by saying he was with her on the night of the murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 July 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Old Doll's House See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Milton Kibbee is listed in studio records as "First Reporter", but he did not appear in the movie. See more »


When Joan is prone on the couch talking to Lance, the position of her arms, folded in front of her, changes between shots. See more »


Excerpt from 'The Chimes of Normandy'
(1877) (uncredited)
Music by Robert Planquette ("Les cloches de Corneville")
See more »

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User Reviews

End of the Line for Richard Barthelmess at Warner Bros.
12 February 2011 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Returning from Europe to New York City, suave Irish gangster Richard Barthelmess (as Lance McGowan) falls in love with sexy Ann Dvorak (as Joan Morley), then learns she's the kid sister of rival gambling crime lord Robert Barrat (as "Angie the Ox"). When accused of Mr. Barrat's murder, Mr. Barthelmess receives assistance from wealthy old Helen Lowell (as Abigail "The Old Doll" Ardsley). Barthelmess had taken refuge in Ms. Lowell's unlocked mansion during an attempt on his life. Barthelmess, who resembles a lover from Lowell 's past, may receive a "Midnight Alibi" from the old woman…

Based on a Damon Runyon story ("The Old Doll's House"), "Midnight Alibi" helped mark the end of Richard Barthelmess' reign as a top Hollywood star. It was the last film Barthelmess made under his lucrative contract with Warner Bros…

Barthelmess will always be remembered for his performances in three extraordinary films; "Broken Blossoms" (1919), "Way Down East" (1920), and "Tol'able David" (1921). He continued to be a popular player; peaking again during the transition from "silent" to talking films, Barthelmess was in Quigley Publications' "Top Ten" box office stars for 1928 (at #8), 1929 (#7), and 1930 (#8). But, by 1934, the films made by one of the industry's highest-paid stars weren't making any money…

So, for "Midnight Alibi", the budget for a Barthelmess picture was necessarily lowered; nevertheless, director Alan Crosland and cameraman William Rees make it look classily miscast…

There is a charming flashback to the year 1888, with Barthelmess (as Robert Anders) romancing beautiful young Helen Chandler (the younger version of present-day "Old Doll" character). In this vignette, Barthelmess wears a moustache and more attractive hairstyle; for some odd reason, he and the studio preferred a make-up style which made Barthelmess look like he was posing for pasty 1920s publicity photographs. The difference in Barthelmess' appearance (and performance) is startling. If he weren't so miscast and made-up, Barthelmess might have successfully extended his stardom…

***** Midnight Alibi (7/14/34) Alan Crosland ~ Richard Barthelmess, Ann Dvorak, Helen Lowell, Helen Chandler

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