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Top Customer Reviews
The action begins when Chick Williams (Chester Morris) gets released from prison--only to get back again with the members of his mob who rob and run a swanky speakeasy. Soon Chick is dating Joan Manning, (Eleanore Griffith), the daughter of a tough as nails police detective who hates the idea of Chick dating his daughter. When detective Pete Manning (Purnell Pratt) discovers that Chick and Joan have been married Pete tries to separate them to no avail. Joan truly believes that Chick has turned over a new leaf.
One night Joan and Chick go to the theater--and Chick excuses himself during the ten minute intermission while Joan waits back in the theater. Almost at that same time a botched robbery leaves a cop dead--and there are questions to be answered. Who killed that cop? Was Chick involved or was he merely smoking outside the theater during intermission? How can Chick prove he is innocent?
Look for excellent performances from Chester Morris as Chick Williams; he impressed me greatly with his fine acting, especially near the end of the picture. Regis Toomey turns in an equally stunning performance as Danny McGann, a detective who pretends to be a drunk at the speakeasy in order to spy on the mobsters. Mae Busch is also quite good as Daisy Thomas, the girlfriend of the man who runs the speakeasy nightclub.
Unfortunately, other reviewers are right when they state that there's an incredible amount of noise that goes along with the soundtrack.Read more ›
The plot and dialogue give initmations of what the "hard-boiled" style would become without quite being there yet.
"Alibi" is worth a look for casual viewers and is a must-have for serious students of the genre. Now, if Paramount would only get around to releasing "City Streets" and "Underworld"....
A camera mounted on the front bumper of a car privides some interesting footage, and a rooftop pursuit is also quite memorable. Considered innovative in its day, "Alibi" received three Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Art Direction and Actor (Morris).
Roland West is reputed to have given Chester Morris a deathbed confession that he murdered actress/club owner Thelma Todd.
Mae Busch was Ollie's wife in Laurel & Hardy's talkie debut, UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE (1929).
This was character actor Regis Toomey's first film.
Based on the 1927 Broadway drama, "Nightstick," a show that had four authors.
KINO's edition of ALIBI is available on DVD.
In THE BIG HOUSE (1930), Chester Morris again plays a notorious thug, along with co-star Wallace Beery. (VHS) -- (DVD)
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll rating.
Alibi (1929) - Chester Morris/Harry Stubbs/Mae Busch/Eleanore Griffith/Regis Toomey/Purnell Pratt/Irma Harrison/Diana Beaumont
In 1929, West directed ALIBI, a film he co-wrote with C. Gardner Sullivan, which was based on the play "Nightstick" by John Griffith Wray. The story is about a gangster just released from prison, who becomes the prime suspect when a cop is murdered during a heist. Chester Morris is excellent in his first starring role as the smooth gangster, Chick Williams. I always enjoy watching Morris' interesting way of portraying a character, and this is one of his strongest. Particularly impressive is his disturbing transformation from a self-assured hood to a whimpering rat at the end. When he's finally cornered by the cops, Morris collapses to his knees, begging for mercy in one of the most humiliating depictions of a criminal's comeuppance ever put on film. Character actor Regis Toomey gives an incredible performance as a faking-it-drunk undercover cop whom Morris rubs out. Toomey's drunk act is so bad it's good, and his excrutiatingly long death scene has to be seen to be believed. Mae Busch, a favorite foil for Laurel and Hardy, is good as a tough-talking moll - "Don't you call me dumb, you big bum!"
ALIBI's production designer was William Cameron Menzies, who gave the film an expressionist look with art-deco sets and silhouetted streets bathed in noirish lighting effects by cinematographer Ray June.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overall, I was very pleased to see this film come to DVD. Kino rightfully gave an explanation as to the lesser quality of the soundtrack, which I found to be generally satisfying... Read morePublished on November 3, 2012 by larryj1
Having just recently become aware of this film, I really wanted to see it.
Kino's release is horribly disappointing, especially considering the company's... Read more
Loosely based on the popular 1920s Broadway play NIGHTSTICK, the 1929 ALIBI was highly acclaimed in its day, with critics rushing to describe it as "fresh," "progressive,"... Read morePublished on January 7, 2011 by Gary F. Taylor
In director Roland West's early talkie ALIBI, a recently paroled mobster named Chick Williams (Morris) is suspected of murdering a cop despite the excuse that he was at a club with... Read morePublished on September 17, 2010 by Annie Van Auken
Considering the many stagey and stilted early sound features, this one has alot of interesting camera angles, shot for realism, and is perhaps noteworthy as a film in anticipation... Read morePublished on August 1, 2008 by P. Silverman
Hitchcock's "Blackmail" and Lubitsch's "The Love Parade", are probably the very best of the early sound films made in 1929, but this one is close behind. Read morePublished on February 13, 2008 by calvinnme