Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Blind Alibi (1938)

The Richard Dix festival continues!

Having watched three Dix films in recent days, I decided to check out his 61-minute RKO "B" film, BLIND ALIBI (1938).

BLIND ALIBI was directed by Lew Landers, who specialized in turning out entertaining "B" movies. I've seen a great many of Landers' films -- reviews are linked at the bottom of this post -- and while there's a notable clunker in the group (DAVY CROCKETT, INDIAN SCOUT), on the whole they're consistently fast-moving, entertaining films.

BLIND ALIBI is another fun one from Landers, despite being hampered by a plot that strains credulity.

Dix plays Paul, a sculptor living in Paris. His sister Ellen (Frances Mercer, seen with Dix below), who is married to a high government official there, is being blackmailed. Paul and his friend Marcel (George Davis) take it upon themselves to retrieve the letters at the heart of the problem.

They don't quite succeed, but Marcel manages to get his hands on the letters long enough to hide them inside some sculptures -- which are immediately shipped to a museum in Los Angeles! The museum is run by Julia (Whitney Bourne, FLIGHT FROM GLORY), who as it happens had met Paul briefly in Paris.

Paul comes up with a novel plan to examine the art and find his sister's letters; he poses as a blind man, complete with seeing eye dog, and arranges for the museum to let him "study" the sculptures by touching them. He can thus handle all the sculptures without arousing suspicion.

The idea that a blind man would be allowed to manhandle the museum's treasures on a daily basis really didn't make much sense to me, but the story was nonetheless fun. Top honors go to Ace the Wonder Dog, who works as Paul's seeing eye dog; Ace adds a great deal of entertainment value to the movie.

I also love a movie where the veterinarian who opens the door near the end of the movie proves to be Regis Toomey! Can't beat that. Landers regulars Paul Guilfoyle and Richard Lane are also on hand, plus Eduoardo Ciannelli.

The movie was shot in black and white by Nicholas Musuraca.

I saw the film thanks to Turner Classic Movies.

Films directed by Lew Landers which have previously been reviewed at this site: NIGHT WAITRESS (1936), WITHOUT ORDERS (1936), FLIGHT FROM GLORY (1937), THEY WANTED TO MARRY (1937), THE MAN WHO FOUND HIMSELF (1937), DANGER PATROL (1937), BORDER CAFE (1937), DOUBLE DANGER (1938), CRASHING HOLLYWOOD (1938), THE AFFAIRS OF ANNABEL (1938) (uncredited), ANNABEL TAKES A TOUR (1938), CONDEMNED WOMEN (1938), SKY GIANT (1938), SMASHING THE RACKETS (1938), TWELVE CROWDED HOURS (1939), PACIFIC LINER (1939), CONSPIRACY (1939), STAND BY ALL NETWORKS (1942), CANAL ZONE (1942), ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942), AFTER MIDNIGHT WITH BOSTON BLACKIE (1943), THUNDER MOUNTAIN (1947), DYNAMITE PASS (1950), DAVY CROCKETT, INDIAN SCOUT (1950), THE BIG GUSHER (1951), ARCTIC FLIGHT (1952), and MAN IN THE DARK (1952).

4 Comments:

Blogger john knight said...

Great that this Richard Dix fest is still going strong.
What a wonderful roster of Lew Landers films already reviewed.
I do agree DAVY CROCKETT INDIAN SCOUT is a total clunker.
BLIND ALIBI does sound great fun.
I tend to put these prolific B directors in the same "clique" guys like Edward L Cahn,
Sidney Salkow,Reginald Le Borg and Landers.Many of their films were constrained by low budgets but there are always some real gems among their work if one cares to seek
them out.As a dedicated B Movie junkie their work crosses my path time and time
again.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

John, thanks so much for your comments! (And it's nice to know we feel the same way about DAVY CROCKETT. It's pretty rare I find a movie as bad as that one was LOL.) There are so many of Landers' films I've really enjoyed, including titles like FLIGHT FROM GLORY, DOUBLE DANGER, and CRASHING HOLLYWOOD. Really fun to discover them.

I need to catch up on some Warner Archive and Olive Films reviews, especially with a busy film festival season approaching, but I hope to review more Richard Dix soon!

Best wishes,
Laura

9:51 PM  
Blogger john knight said...

Hi Laura,
A friend of mine is sending me FRONTIER UPRISING with Jim Davis.
I've never seen that one,directed by the prolific Edward L Cahn.
My friend says that like DAVY CROCKETT INDIAN SCOUT the film is chock full of
stock footage from KIT CARSON.
BTW Laura have you seen the trailer of CRIMINAL with Kevin Costner....looks really
good,and I know you are fan of Kevin's.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

"I also love a movie where the veterinarian who opens the door near the end of the movie proves to be Regis Toomey! Can't beat that." Oh, yeah.

11:20 AM  

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