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  • Often ridiculous but breathlessly paced and mostly entertaining. It's got all of the Warner Brothers staples: quick pace, lots of gun play, average looking leading man with above average acting ability (in this case a very young Arthur Kennedy) and a convincing rough and tumble feel. (You sometimes fear for the actors' safety.) It also has the great Howard Da Silva stealing every scene he's in as a sadistic prison guard.

    Sacrifices logic for speed. Hey, plausibility slows things down. A standard undercover-cop-stuck-in-prison flick, though a bit more interesting because of its cast.
  • Strange Alibi harks back to the quick, crude Warners crime-and-corruption movies of the 1930s, showing none of the more nuanced, ambiguous style that started to coalesce in the early 40s. It's a rough and ready programmer, just watchable because of a few of its cast members.

    Arthur Kennedy, in one of his earliest roles, plays a cop who stages a dishonorable discharge from the force in order to work the shady side of the street. But, framed for the murder of the one man who can vouch for his honesty, he ends up in the Big House, a target both of other cons (since he was a cop) and the guards (since they think he was a dishonest one; Howard Da Silva plays a particularly sadistic screw). He's in for life, which promises to be nasty, brutish and short, but a few fast friends on the outside are trying to get him exonerated. Chief among them is gold-hearted vice queen Florence Bates, one of the movies' most formidable old battleaxes (before taking to acting, she was the first woman to practice law in Texas).

    The plot races and bumps along but manages to work itself out with passable cleverness: Kennedy contrives a scheme in which his innocence is proved by the "testimony" of a corpse.
  • Arthur Kennedy stars in this film from Warner Brothers B picture unit where he plays a cop gone undercover to get the goods on a gambling syndicate. What he doesn't know is that the top cop brass Stanley Andrews and Cliff Clark are the head of the syndicate. After testifying in court Kennedy's framed for murder and sent to prison.

    What a predicament, to the crooks he's a stool pigeon and he's now a criminal as well.

    In only 63 minutes running time this B film goes at a rapid pace as Kennedy works out a situation that even Franz Kafka couldn't conceive.

    Some mighty good performances characterize this film besides those mentioned. Florence Bates as the owner of a lakeside roadhouse, Howard DaSilva as a sadistic prison guard, Jonathan Hale as the governor, and John Ridgely as one of the few convict friends Kennedy makes in the joint.

    There's a slam bang chicken run with a freight train during Kennedy's prison break. And his gimmick for clearing himself with the governor, absolutely inspired.

    Good product from the Brothers Warner.
  • Arthur Kennedy is a police sergeant who goes undercover to root out crooked cops, only to get framed by those very cops for the murder of the police chief he was working for, and winds up being sent to prison. Kennedy, in an early role, is quite good and the film is chock full of the great character actors that pop up in these neat old Warners "B"s--guys like Jonathan Hale, Dick Rich, John Ridgely, Ben Welden and, in a scene-stealing role, Howard Da Silva as a sadistic prison guard. Director D. Ross Lederman, an old hand at these kinds of pictures, keeps things moving at lightning speed, and it has the sneering thugs, tough cops, gun molls with a heart of gold, screaming sirens, screeching tires, breakneck car chases and everything else that made so many of the Warners "B" pictures of the '40s worthwhile. Check it out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When the film begins, an informer is about to turn evidence on the mob. Soon, however, he is murdered and the cops catch the man responsible. But, the murderer is found hung in his cell--and the leads as to who is in charge of the mob have all dried up.

    The scapegoat for this 'accidental suicide' is Sgt. Joe Geary (Arthur Kennedy). When he's confronted for this, Geary shows he's a hot-head and slugs his superior--and is thrown off the police force for insubordination. However, in one of the oldest plot devices known to gangster films, it turns out Geary has done this in order to work undercover for the police Chief. And, in the second oldest plot device known to gangster films, the Chief is killed--and no one can prove that Geary is working undercover as the Chief neglected to leave any evidence to this effect (oops!). Even worse, Geary is assumed to be guilty for the killing and is sentenced to life in prison. What is next for the mug? See the film.

    The big plot hole is that anyone would go this far undercover and not have some sort of backup plan for if the ONLY one who knows he's undercover dies! This is pretty silly, though fortunately the film, despite some clichés, is pretty exciting. Much of it is that Warner Brothers had a real knack for these sort of films--even if it only had a B-movie budget like "Strange Alibi". Worth seeing even if the plot is less than brilliant because it is fast-paced, exciting and slickly produced.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***SPOILERS*** Going undercover as a disgraced policemen Sgt.Joe Geary, Arthur Kennedy, by him punching out his boss Chief Sprague, Jonathan Hale, in the police station in front of a dozen witnesses gets his chance to crack the biggest crime ring in the city. Actually working with not against Chief Sprague Geary becomes a member of the notorious Lockland Gang as an enforcer. It's then that Geary finds out that there's a strong police connection with the gang in that police Captain Reddick, Cliff Clark, and his top man Det. Let. Pagle, Stanley Andrews, run it!

    As things turn out the only person who knows that Geary is clean not dirty, Chief Sprague, is gunned down in a shootout with the Lockwood Mob leaving him without an alibi as well as getting framed for the Chief's murder. With only on the lamb and near death, from alcoholism, hood who was at the scene of the shoot-out Benny McKaye, Joe Downing, nowhere to be found Garey is left high & dry with a 20 year sentence, for murder,behind bars! That's until he crashes out of prison with his fellow inmate Tex, John Ridgely, and starts making thing hot for both Capt. Riddick & Let. Det. Pagle the persons who framed him!

    ***SPOILERS**** It takes a dead man the late Benny McKaye who died drinking to prove Geary's innocent. It also took the State Governor Phelps, Charles Trowbridge, whom if you can believe it Geary kidnapped out of his hotel suite to prove that he was framed by the Lockwood Mob. That by him tricking Reddick's hoods into killing the already dead Benny McKaye a second time around. This with Governor being an eye witness at the "Murder" scene! When confronted with the evidence a deranged Let. Det. Pagle, knowing that the JiJ was up, attempted but failed to shoot Geary as well as Governor Phelps only making the case against him that much stronger! As for Sgt. Geary he got a full pardon from the "Gov" in not only proving that he was framed but by putting the Lockwood Mob out of business and being put in charge, with a promotion and hefty pay raise, of the police Internal Affairs Department!
  • Catch that hair-raising car chase as Geary (Kennedy) escapes prison. It's a dilly, but the crash is not one you walk away from. The movie's a 60-minute gangster programmer from the specialists, Warner Bros. Nothing memorable here, but there are highlights—the great Howard de Silva as a cruel prison guard (I'd rather serve my time in heck); battle-axe Florence Bates in an actual sympathetic role; and the race between fleeing car and speeding train. Okay, I kept a notepad so I could keep up with the maze-like plot. Seems cop Geary goes undercover to get goods on city corruption. But things don't go as planned. Meanwhile characters come and go, which is where the notepad comes in. Then too, there're more than the usual plot contrivances, but they go down easily, since director Lederman keeps things moving in typical Warners fashion.

    Can't help noticing the work party scenes were filmed at all-purpose Bronson Canyon. Despite appearances, it's plumb in the middle of LA, next door to the studios. That's why it turns up in so many cheapo films, especially from the sci-fi 1950's. And get a load of leading lady Perry (Alice). No wonder Columbia's ogre Harry Cohn grabbed her off as his wife. Looks like she had a knack for marrying rich guys, so no surprise she left the business. Anyhow, it's a decent little slice of thick-ear, with a good chance to catch one of Hollywood's best actors honing his skills, the great Arthur Kennedy. Besides, who can resist a name like 'Fido Durkin'.