Strange Alibi


1h 3m 1941
Strange Alibi

Brief Synopsis

An undercover cop finds himself on the wrong side of the law when the mob discovers his true identity.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Apr 19, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,683ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

When King Carney, a grand jury witness, is gunned down before he can testify, gangster Louie Butler is suspected. After a manhunt, Butler is arrested, but is later found hanging in his cell. Police Chief Sprague is skeptical, believing that Butler was not the kind of man to hang himself. Together with Joe Geary, the only policeman on the force whom Sprague trusts, he devises a plan to root out corruption in the city. As part of the plot, Joe is publicly accused of consorting with criminals and suspended from the force. He is taken in by Crips Vossen, who collects from businesses running crooked gambling games. Joe's job is to learn the identity of "Lockland," the head of the crime syndicate. When Joe proves himself to Vossen, he is taken to meet Lockland, who is revealed to be police captain Reddick. With his henchman, Lieutenant-Detective Pagle, Reddick was responsible for the deaths of Carney and Butler. Joe forcibly takes Benny McKaye, one of the men working for Reddick, to testify for Sprague, but they are followed by Pagle, who then kills Sprague and wounds Joe. Benny escapes and Pagle puts the gun that killed Sprague in Joe's hand. Without any witnesses, no one believes Joe's story that he was working undercover, and he is sentenced to life in prison. Joe's fiancée, Alice Devlin, is convinced that he is innocent, and together with their old friend Katie, a victim of the syndicate, searches for Benny, who is Joe's only hope. In prison, Joe is victimized by the guards and the other criminals. Some time later, Durkin is sent to prison for killing Vossen. During a fight with brutal guard Monson, Durkin is badly wounded, but before he dies, he tells Joe that Katie has found Benny. Desperate to clear himself, Joe escapes from prison and heads for Katie's, but before he arrives, Benny dies without talking. Captain Allen, an honest policeman, follows Alice to Katie's and warns Joe that Reddick and Pagle are looking for him. Learning that the reform-minded governor has vowed to clean up the city, Joe borrows Allen's badge, coat and hat and drives Benny's body to the governor's hotel. There he asks the governor to phone Reddick to tell him that Benny is on his way. Joe and the governor witness Pagle and Reddick shoot at the car with Benny's body in it. After the governor tells Reddick that Benny telephoned him before he was killed and cleared Joe's name, Reddick agrees to testify. Pagle attempts to shoot his way out, but Allen kills him. Joe's name is cleared and he is assigned to head the graft investigation.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Apr 19, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,683ft (7 reels)

Articles

Strange Alibi -


When he wasn't helming the second unit on films by Alfred Hitchcock (Rebecca [1940]) or Roy Del Ruth (The Babe Ruth Story [1948]), D. Ross Lederman was making his own movies. Known for efficiency, economy, and a discernable authorial brand, Lederman labored for many years at Columbia, directing Tim McCoy Westerns, and Warner Brothers, where he was kept busy remaking films moldering in the studio vault. Lederman's Escape from Crime (1942) was a sly remake of Irving Bacon's Picture Snatcher (1933), minus James Cagney, while Strange Alibi (1941) repurposed the logline of William Keighley's Bullets or Ballots (1935) with Arthur Kennedy standing in for Edward G. Robinson as an honest cop who pretends to go bad in a bid to infiltrate a criminal gang. A protégé of Cagney, Arthur Kennedy had made his film debut playing Cagney's kid brother in City for Conquest (1940), a career coup he chased by supporting Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra (1941) and Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941). Strange Alibi finds Kennedy enjoying an early starring role, heading a cast that benefits from the participation of Florence Bates, Cliff Clark, and Howard DaSilva, as a brutal prison guard. Actor Herbert Rawlinson, who plays King Carney, the mobster gunned down early on in Strange Alibi, also had a supporting role in Bullets or Ballots.

By Richard Harland Smith
Strange Alibi -

Strange Alibi -

When he wasn't helming the second unit on films by Alfred Hitchcock (Rebecca [1940]) or Roy Del Ruth (The Babe Ruth Story [1948]), D. Ross Lederman was making his own movies. Known for efficiency, economy, and a discernable authorial brand, Lederman labored for many years at Columbia, directing Tim McCoy Westerns, and Warner Brothers, where he was kept busy remaking films moldering in the studio vault. Lederman's Escape from Crime (1942) was a sly remake of Irving Bacon's Picture Snatcher (1933), minus James Cagney, while Strange Alibi (1941) repurposed the logline of William Keighley's Bullets or Ballots (1935) with Arthur Kennedy standing in for Edward G. Robinson as an honest cop who pretends to go bad in a bid to infiltrate a criminal gang. A protégé of Cagney, Arthur Kennedy had made his film debut playing Cagney's kid brother in City for Conquest (1940), a career coup he chased by supporting Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra (1941) and Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941). Strange Alibi finds Kennedy enjoying an early starring role, heading a cast that benefits from the participation of Florence Bates, Cliff Clark, and Howard DaSilva, as a brutal prison guard. Actor Herbert Rawlinson, who plays King Carney, the mobster gunned down early on in Strange Alibi, also had a supporting role in Bullets or Ballots. By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A 30 December 1940 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Vincent Sherman was to direct this film.