Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Fine early gangster movie that shows 'em how it's done...
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 02/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alibi is one of the few early talkies that truly make the grade. There's a good plot that moves along nicely, good choreography and cinematography (for its time) and the convincing acting held my attention every step of the way. This film is an excellent early talkie gangster movie.
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. This makes it hard to hear some of the lines--especially in one scene early on when a policeman tries to woo Joan away from Chick. I do applaud the great way they mounted the stationary camera onto the top of a car so that we could see what the cops could see when the cops are going through their paces to see if Chick could have been involved in the botched robbery or even the murder of the cop.
Alibi is an excellent early talkie that is well worth watching. I highly recommend this for fans of early gangster films and people who like classic movies will be impressed with Chester Morris who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
Lisa C. Mckenna | Blue Mountains, Sydney, NSW Australia | 12/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an early talkie so you know what to expect.The sound quality is not great and the acting is awkward and stilted but there are some suspenceful and well edited sequences.I especially liked the scene where the detectives retrace the route the crooks took to the warehouse in order to time the movements of the murderer.But what really makes this dvd worth buying is the amazing performance of Regis Toomey? His performance as billy morgan the boy broker has to be seen to be believed.For this alone i give this movie a high rating."
One of the best of the early sound films
calvinnme | 02/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. I'm rating this film 5/5 when ranked with other early sound entries from 1929 -1934. Although the dialogue still has some of that halting quality that is common in early talkies, it doesn't cause the film to plod along. Instead, it moves along at a good pace and keeps you engaged. The actors have a pretty natural quality in their performance, Chester Morris in particular. He's the one actor you're likely to recognize, since he had a pretty good career in the 30's and 40's playing romantic leads first and then in a crime drama series later on.
The film starts out with Chick Williams (Chester Morris) being released from prison, supposedly after being framed by the police. He's dating the daughter of a hard-boiled detective, and from the way the detective and his subordinates handle things - not to mention his rough treatment of his daughter - at first you might believe Chick is a wronged guy. Shortly after Chick's release there is a robbery that goes bad in which a police officer is killed. Chick is suspect number one, except he has an alibi - the hard-boiled detective's daughter, and roughly a hundred other people who saw him at the theatre at the time of the robbery.
There are lots of little interesting tricks and turns in this movie, not to mention the interesting use of sound and the mounting of the camera on the front of the car so that as the police and the criminals speed around in the dark, you see what they see. Look at any other typically claustrophobic 1929 film, and you'll appreciate this even more. I also enjoyed how this film used musical numbers - not to intrude on the plot in a silly way as so many 1929 films did - but to add to the atmosphere of the club that Chick and his gang hang out at.
Finally there is Chester Morris' acting. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and he certainly deserved it. He transitioned from playing the smooth and possibly wronged man, to vicious criminal, to trembling coward quite believably. Not for another two years, when Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney came along, do we get quite such a powerful performance from an actor playing a gangster.
The one bad thing I'll say about this print is the sound has quite a bit of static in it. I expected more from Kino on this front. It's not terrible, but there are times when you need to really turn up the volume to understand what's being said."
Progressive for it's time
Phil S. | USA | 08/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 of "Citizen Kane", which also incorporates sets and art direction in the action.
The sound quality is about right for 1929 - I don't know if much could be done in the patches where you might want to reach for the remote volume control.
Predating "Public Enemy" by two years we still have a film as brutally "real", with a performance by Chester Morris which can compare to James Cagney's. The difference is that Morris changes from wronged "bad boy" to the arch criminal he really is and Cagney "humanizes", if you will, in his opus.
Actually, this movie gives more period detail as to the culture and technology of urban Protective service, than the latter, more famous film.
There's alot of chorus line numbers which are well-photographed and blend in well to the story line. As another reviewer said, they are not musical "relief".
Mae Busch has a fairly meaty part, playing a golddigger of sorts, marrying a hood, but also befriending the confused daughter of the Police