Brown, whose penchant for the sport nearly won him a spot with the New York Yankees in the mid-1920s, had a clause in his contract that allowed him to form his own Warner Brothers studio team: the Joe E. Brown All-Stars. The satchel-mouthed comedian was also part owner of the Kansas City Blues, and his fanaticism to the game is evidenced by the casting of no less than 25 all-time greats throughout the picture, including Bob Meusel, Archie Campbell and Herman Bell. Enright's neat melding of howling guffaws with exciting last inning cheers (with a remarkably agile Brown doing all his own baseball action) delighted both critics and fans, and additionally served as an ideal showcase for young newcomer Olivia de Havilland, cast as Brown's sweetheart.
Upon its release, Alibi Ike's star became his studio's MVP when the New York Times' Frank Nugent likened Brown "...to Warners what Garbo is to Metro and Shirley Temple to Fox..." As for Enright, his frantic timing skills filled his future busy schedule with two other genres: the war movie (realistically utilizing his WWI tenure with the American Expeditionary Forces) and the Western. In the latter genre, he became a favorite director of Randolph Scott's after working with the actor on the 1942 remake of The Spoilers. Scott specifically requested the now tagged "action specialist" no less than a half dozen times - a successful on-going alliance ended only by the veteran director's retirement in the early 1950s.
Producer: Edward Chodorov
Director: Ray Enright
Screenplay: William Wister Haines, Ring Lardner (story)
Cinematography: Arthur L. Todd
Film Editing: Thomas Pratt
Principal Cast: Joe E. Brown (Frank X. Farrell), Olivia de Havilland (Dolly Stevens), Ruth Donnelly (Bess), Roscoe Karns (Cary), William Frawley (Cap), Eddie Shubert (Jack Mack).
BW-73m. Close captioning.
by Mel Neuhaus