The central character of The Glass Alibi is an unscrupulous, no holds barred, gold plated villain,Joe Eykner ( Douglas Fowley) who is playing around with equally odious Belle (Anne Gwynne).
They are made for each other.
Belle is kept in style by gangster Red Hogan ( Cy Kendall)who is holed up in a house he’s broken into in Malibu, as he tries to escape police capture. He phones Belle and tells her where he is and to come and get him. He incidentally asks her if she still loves him.
As Belle says, “Sure I love you,baby“, we see her in her apartment caressing Joe.
Joe’s a reporter ( when he works at it) and he realises he’s got a scoop. He contacts his childhood pal,Max (Paul Kelly) who is a cop. Red is picked up and Joe meets the owner of the fancy home the gangster had broken into. She’s Linda (Maris Wrixon), a very rich young socialite who has a heart condition and only 6 months to live.
The minute Joe finds out her circumstances,he’s already counting her money.
Linda’s fed up with people protecting her and falls for Joe who very quickly suggests marriage.
Meanwhile Red Hogan is in San Quentin and makes sure Belle doesn’t forget him by getting one of his men to keep an eye on her and give her an invitation she can’t refuse,to visit him in prison.
After 8 months,Belle is annoyed that Linda is still enjoying married life with Joe. Joe is pressured into replacing Linda’s prescribed pills with ordinary aspirin. But that’s not enough for Belle.
So murder is the next option. Joe thinks his plan is full proof, but of course it isn’t. Linda is dead but Max doesn’t believe Joe’s elaborate alibi – Max says, ” It’s a glass alibi. I can see right through it and break it without even trying.”
Joe gets the shock of his life when the doctor says the cause of Linda’s death was heart failure and adds, “Whoever wanted to murder her didn’t have to fire a bullet into the corpse.”
(Joe had shot Linda in her bed, thinking she was asleep.)
Joe’s reaction is then to ask Max,”Could anyone burn for shooting a corpse?”
But Joe is found guilty anyway – of killing Belle ( though Red did it after breaking out of prison).
Fowley and Gwynne make a great team. Paul Kelly is wasted as the friend who realises Joe is no good but doesn’t give up on him till he has no choice. Kelly getting top billing and being shoe-horned into the film’s poster doesn’t make sense.
I liked Maris Wrixon who’s only half taken in by Joe. She says to her doctor, “Suppose he is marrying me for my money. Is there any reason why I shouldn’t spend it on a few months happiness.”
A solid B directed by Billy Wilder’s brother W.Lee Wilder. It deserves to be restored and brought out on DVD.
I love the comment on one of the only two IMDb reviews which says: “Wrixon’s character has got one of those old – movie diseases that enables her to stay good looking and energetic while assuring us that her days are numbered.”
Having been made aware, by the poster/artwork gallery on the
Where Danger Lives blog,of just how many of these Republic
Noir B Crime thrillers there are.
The good news is that lots of them are out there in decent quality.
THE GLASS ALIBI sounds like a really good one.
I recently saw THE PRETENDER also directed by Wilder and it’s
Billy Wilder,from what I have read, seemed to have little time for
his less well known brother.
The Pretender sounds good . Any other titles?
Sounds like a very interesting piece of Film Noir. I’d love to check it out.
Joe and Belle are the ultimate ,stop at nothing, noir nightmare. Hope you get to see it.
Vienna, I’ve been off-line for a few days.
Other Republic B Crime/Noirs that I have seen and enjoyed
are BLACKMAIL (1947) STREET BANDITS (1951)
LONELY HEARTS BANDITS (1950) and WOMEN FROM
HEADQUARTERS.(1950) I really enjoyed the last title but Mark from
Where Danger Lives did not think much of the film.
Other goodies are on the way including BLONDE BANDIT with Dorothy
Patrick. I am trying to track down some of these Republic Noirs starring the
very interesting Stephanie Bachelor.
Thanks,John. Only one I know is Lonely Hearts Bandits. Will keep a note of the others.
Stephanie Bachelor is a find!