The Glass Alibi
Republic Pictures

Directed by W. Lee Wilder
Written by Mindred Lord
A W. Lee Wilder Production


Released May 1, 1946


Infused with good direction, performances and refreshing twists, this murder mystery clicks as it's well-paced and flick holds interest.  Douglas Fowley plays a southern Californian reporter with criminal bent who inveigles a wealthy Santa Monica resident, played by Maris Rixon, into marriage on learning she is to die because of heart ailment.  His ambitions, spurred by the other gal, Anne Gwynne, fill in the middle footage with smooth suspense leading to the murder climax.  

Unknowing of her death because of heart failure, Fowley shoots his wife in accordance to carefully laid out murder plans.  Due to his own schemed alibi, conviction and justice follow for the finale with Paul Kelly withholding the technical facts that would clear him.


 

Cast:

Paul Kelly

Anne Gwynne ... Belle Martin

Douglas Fowley

Maris Rixon

Jack Conrad

Cryil Thornton

Cy Kendall

Phyllis Adair

Production:

Mindred Lord- Writer 

W. Lee Wilder- Director -Producer

Henry Sharp- Cinematographer

Asa Clark- Editor

Full Storyline

Hunted by the police, escaped convict Red Hogan eludes his pursuers by pulling into the secluded Malibu driveway of heiress Linda Vale. After forcing his way into the house, Red holds Linda and her faithful butler Riggs at gunpoint while he phones his mistress, Belle Marlin (Anne Gwynne), with instructions to meet him in Malibu. Unknown to Red, the sexy Belle is entertaining her current lover, crime reporter Joe Eykner.

The opportunistic Joe, spotting a big scoop in the story of Red's capture, notifies his childhood friend, homicide lieutenant Max Anderson, that he can lead him to Red. Soon after, Max and Joe arrive at Linda's house to arrest the fugitive. When Joe learns that the nave and vulnerable Linda is a millionairess who suffers from heart disease and hence has only months to live, he immediately schemes to marry Linda for her fortune. Feigning compassion for Linda's condition, Joe proposes that he write a story about her courage in facing death.

Later at Belle's apartment, Benny Brandini, Red's emissary, comes to give Belle a cache of money from Red, and Belle lies that the police discovered Red's whereabouts by tapping her phone line. After dinner at Linda's that night, Joe romances the heiress during a moonlight stroll along the beach, much to Max's disapproval. After leaving Linda, Joe visits Belle and relates his plan of "hitting the jackpot" by marrying Linda.

Broke, Joe uses Red's money to court Linda, and after a whirlwind romance, Linda informs her heart specialist, Dr. John F. Lawson, of her impending marriage to Joe. Upon returning from his honeymoon, Joe hurries to Belle's apartment to replenish his funds. After he leaves, Benny, who has been watching Belle, appears and insinuates that he knows about Belle's affair with Joe. Eight months later, Linda is the picture of health, causing Joe to anxiously inquire about his wife's health.

Belle, who is worried that Red will discover her infidelity and is fed up with supplying money to Joe, urges Joe to speed his wife's demise. When the impatient Joe buys a bottle of unmarked aspirin tablets at a pharmacy, Max witnesses the purchase. That night, Joe replaces Linda's heart pills with the aspirin tablets. Afterward, Joe arranges to meet Belle on a street corner, and there she berates him for his ineffectual murder scheme and informs him that Red has stopped sending her money.

The next day, Max calls on Belle to inform her about Red's escape. After he departs, Belle phones Joe with the news and Riggs overhears their conversation and the desperate tone in Joe's voice. Devising a new plot, Joe sends Belle to Palm Springs. Suspicious of Joe's confident attitude in the face of Red's escape, Max drives to the beachhouse to investigate and interrupts Joe in the midst of a phone call to Belle. Pretending that he is speaking to his publisher, Joe tells Max that he must leave immediately for Palm Springs.

Before departing, Joe instructs Linda to lock her bedroom door and then drives off. Stopping at a gas station along the highway, Joe makes certain that the attendant is aware of his name and destination. After meeting Belle on the road midway between Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Joe accompanies her back to Palm Springs and establishes an alibi for himself by imprinting his fingerprints on the door knobs, glasses and ashtrays in Belle's hotel room.

Joe then drives home, climbs into Linda's bedroom through an open window, fires a gun into her sleeping body and then speeds away toward Palm Springs, but is forced to turn around by a police roadblock erected to stop Red. Returning home at dawn, Joe is met by Max, who accuses him of killing Linda and then making her death appear to be a suicide. When Joe protests that he spent the night in Palm Springs with Belle, Max vows to expose his "glass alibi."

Soon after, the coroner, puzzled as to why Linda's prescription bottle contained only aspirin, announces that Linda died of heart failure hours before being shot, prompting Joe to taunt Max that he can hardly arrest him for shooting a corpse. Max, defeated, leaves the house and is informed by a police officer that Belle has been murdered and Joe's fingerprints discovered in her hotel room.

Re-entering the house, Max arrests Joe for Belle's murder and informs him that Red and Benny, his only hope of being proved innocent, have perished in a shootout with the police. On the day that Joe is found guilty of murder, Max pays his tab at the local bar

 

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