UCLA Festival of Preservation Tour 2020
Screening Dates
  • March 14, 2020 4:30

Alibis twisty, suspenseful story and striking funhouse imagery still make it look like a lost classic.”

Scott Tobias, A.V. Club

A gangster tale told with aural and visual flourish, the first talkie released by United Artists was nominated for a trio of Oscars: for best picture, best actor (Chester Morris), and the Expressionist/​Deco art direction of legendary production designer William Cameron Menzies (The Thief of Bagdad, Gone with the Wind, Invaders from Mars). Square-jawed leading man Morris (star of 14 Boston Blackie films in the 1940s) plays a hardened crook who convinces his sweetheart, a policeman’s daughter, that he’s gone straight. Events prove otherwise. The film made innovative use of sonic effects, including whistles, birdsong, footfalls, and clanging nightsticks. Film historian David Shipman called it the first film to use sound imaginatively.”


Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation.