Midnight Alibi


60m 1934
Midnight Alibi

Brief Synopsis

An elderly recluse shelters a gambler on the run from bogus murder charges.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
The Old Doll's House
Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Jul 14, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Old Doll's House" by Damon Runyon in Collier's (13 May 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

On the boat back from Europe, gangster Lance McGowan meets Joan Morley without realizing that she is the sister of Angie the Ox, one of Lance's rivals. Angie, who runs several gambling clubs, has taken advantage of Lance's absence to take over as head man. Now that he has returned, Lance tries to take back his territory. He meets Joan again at Angie's biggest club, and when Angie sees them together, he warns Lance away from his sister. Angie orders his men to take care of Lance, and they shoot at him as he is leaving the club. He escapes into a large mansion across the street, which is owned by Abigail Ardsley. She greets her intruder and tells him that she has kept her door open for forty-five years, ever since her disapproving father shot and killed her fiancé, Robert Anders. When Lance tells Abigail that he is in a similar situation, she advises him not to let Joan go. Taking her advice, Lance visits Joan at home to tell her that he loves her and she admits that she loves him, too. That night Lance brings Abigail a dog to keep her company. With her encouragement, he goes to Angie's club to ask his permission to marry Joan, and when Angie reaches for his gun, Babe, one of Lance's men, kills him. Lance is blamed for the murder and is arrested, and when Babe is killed leaving town, he no longer has an alibi. A strict new governor decides to make an example of Lance, and it looks like he will be convicted until Abigail leaves her house for the first time in years and testifies that Lance was visiting her at the time of the murder. Lance is acquitted on her word. When he visits Abigail for the last time to tell her that he has gotten a good job and is going straight, he finds Joan waiting there for him.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Old Doll's House
Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Jul 14, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Old Doll's House" by Damon Runyon in Collier's (13 May 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Midnight Alibi -


Author Damon Runyon's amusingly stylized tales of the sidewalks of Broadway have paid off in big film musicals (Guys and Dolls,1955) as well as vehicles for Bob Hope The Lemon Drop Kid, 1951) and Shirley Temple (Little Miss Marker, 1934). Following soon after Frank Capra's Damon Runyon adaptation Lady for a Day (1933) is the obscure Midnight Alibi (1934). It was the final First National-Warner Brothers contract assignment for both director Alan Crosland (of the talkie landmark The Jazz Singer, 1927) and famed silent star Richard Barthelmess. Framed for the murder of a rival, streetwise gambler Lance McGowan (Barthelmess) discovers that the victim's sister Joan (Ann Dvorak) is the woman he loves. When the murder occurred Lance was hiding out in the apartment of 'The Old Lady' (Helen Lowell). Lance reminds the sentimental woman of her old beau, which triggers a quaint flashback to the 1880s. Barthelmess is seen as the young lover (with a tiny mustache) and beautiful Helen Chandler (the star of Dracula, 1932) the youthful 'Old Lady.' Even with the fanciful Runyon dialogue, the soft-spoken Barthelmess was considered a bad fit as a Manhattan tough guy. Curiously, the filming of Midnight Alibi made news in the murder trial of one Nellie Madison. Neighbors did not report the five loud gunshots that killed Madison's husband because they were accustomed to the racket from night shoots at Warners' Burbank lot, just over the fence.

By Glenn Erickson
Midnight Alibi -

Midnight Alibi -

Author Damon Runyon's amusingly stylized tales of the sidewalks of Broadway have paid off in big film musicals (Guys and Dolls,1955) as well as vehicles for Bob Hope The Lemon Drop Kid, 1951) and Shirley Temple (Little Miss Marker, 1934). Following soon after Frank Capra's Damon Runyon adaptation Lady for a Day (1933) is the obscure Midnight Alibi (1934). It was the final First National-Warner Brothers contract assignment for both director Alan Crosland (of the talkie landmark The Jazz Singer, 1927) and famed silent star Richard Barthelmess. Framed for the murder of a rival, streetwise gambler Lance McGowan (Barthelmess) discovers that the victim's sister Joan (Ann Dvorak) is the woman he loves. When the murder occurred Lance was hiding out in the apartment of 'The Old Lady' (Helen Lowell). Lance reminds the sentimental woman of her old beau, which triggers a quaint flashback to the 1880s. Barthelmess is seen as the young lover (with a tiny mustache) and beautiful Helen Chandler (the star of Dracula, 1932) the youthful 'Old Lady.' Even with the fanciful Runyon dialogue, the soft-spoken Barthelmess was considered a bad fit as a Manhattan tough guy. Curiously, the filming of Midnight Alibi made news in the murder trial of one Nellie Madison. Neighbors did not report the five loud gunshots that killed Madison's husband because they were accustomed to the racket from night shoots at Warners' Burbank lot, just over the fence. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

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

Notes

The film's pre-release title as The Old Doll's House. This was Richard Barthelmess' last film for Warner Bros.