Alibi

Overview

Director Roland West was a moody and mysterious Hollywood character, who insisted upon making his pictures in utter secrecy and filming only at night. This may explain the overall foreboding atmosphere of Alibi, West's first talking picture. Chester Morris portrays a ruthless gangster who must establish an alibi after pulling off a warehouse robbery. Regis Toomey and Pat O'Malley are the detectives assigned to get the goods on Morris. Full of vicious bravado when he's on top of a situation, Morris turns into a ...
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Overview

Director Roland West was a moody and mysterious Hollywood character, who insisted upon making his pictures in utter secrecy and filming only at night. This may explain the overall foreboding atmosphere of Alibi, West's first talking picture. Chester Morris portrays a ruthless gangster who must establish an alibi after pulling off a warehouse robbery. Regis Toomey and Pat O'Malley are the detectives assigned to get the goods on Morris. Full of vicious bravado when he's on top of a situation, Morris turns into a craven coward when he's trapped--but not before coldbloodedly gunning down true-blue policeman Toomey, who then launches into one the longest and most lachrymose death scenes in the history of movies. Alibi was based on the play Nightstick, written by John Wray, J.C. Nugent and Elaine Sterne.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A "transition" film as the movies tried to adapt to the new medium of sound, Alibi was critically hailed when first released but is less impressive when seen today. Like many films of the period, Alibi was trying to find a way of reconciling the cinematic freedom that had developed in the silent films with the demands of filming in sound, which at the time largely precluded much camera movement. Thus, there are several impressive segments with no dialogue (sound effects being added in later) which demonstrate director Roland West and cinematographer Ray June's considerable talents; there are also many more (and much longer) dialogue-heavy scenes that are largely of the point-and-shoot variety. These latter scenes weigh the movie for modern viewers, especially as they seem so clich├ęd and trite. At the time of the film's release, however, they were striking some new chords, both in the manner in which the characters were presented as essentially all lacking in morals (e.g., the cops are not really a whole lot better than the robbers) and in which conventions of the gangster film were being set that would become important in later, more lasting films. When allowed to run free with the camera, West is impressive, creating expressionistic angles that, with June's careful, evocative lighting and William Cameron Menzies' striking sets, make quite an impact. But too much of the film is static, and the over-the-top performances, especially from Regis Toomey, are a distraction.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/4/2007
  • UPC: 738329055523
  • Original Release: 1929
  • Source: Kino Video
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:24:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chester Morris Chick Williams (No. 1065)
Harry Stubbs Buck Bachman
Mae Busch Daisy Manning
Eleanor Griffith Joan Manning
Irma Harrison Toots
Regis Toomey Danny McGann
Al Hill Brown
Elmer Ballard Soft Malone
Kernan Cripps Trask
Purnell Pratt Pete Manning
Pat O'Malley Tommy Glennon
DeWitt Jennings O'Brien
Virginia Flohri Singer
Edward Jardon Singer
Diana Beaumont
James Bradbury Blake
Ed Brady George Stanislaus David
Technical Credits
Roland West Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Howard Campbell Sound/Sound Designer
Fanchon Choreography
Ray June Cinematographer
Hal Kem Editor
Hal Kern Editor
Ned Mann Special Effects
William Cameron Menzies Art Director
Hugo Riesenfeld Score Composer
Robert Stephanoff Makeup
C. Gardner Sullivan Screenwriter
Harry Zech Special Effects
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Alibi
1. Opening Titles [2:12]
2. Bachman's [5:33]
3. A Policeman's Daughter [3:51]
4. Intermission Crime [3:43]
5. Inside Man [7:15]
6. Chick's Alibi [4:31]
7. The Killer's Footsteps [2:37]
8. The Third Degree [8:50]
9. "A Smile Like Yours" [3:19]
10. Caught in a Trap [8:06]
11. Blown Cover [6:33]
12. A Little Showdown [3:56]
13. Parting Words [5:19]
14. The Hideout [6:38]
15. Police Raid [8:07]
16. Chick's Final Ploy [2:22]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Alibi
   Play Film
   Scene Selection
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