L'Alibi (1937)
aka: The Alibi
A film directed by Pierre Chenal

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Drama

Film Review

L'Alibi photo
L'Alibi is one of two very popular film noir thrillers made by the French film director Pierre Chenal in the 1930s. The other, Le Dernier tournant (1939), was the first film adaptation of the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice. From a stylistic point of view, both films are rather good examples of early film noir. Deep focus, high contrast black-and-white photography, confined shadowy sets - all the familiar noir techniques are used to create a sense of mystery, menace and mayhem.

Where L'Alibi falls down is its weak script. The characters are simplistic caricatures, and the plot lacks originality and depth. The silly happy ending tagged on at the end of the film jars painfully with the sombre mood which preceded it. On the plus side, there is a great cast which includes some of the most celebrated screen actors of the 1930s - Louis Jouvet, Erich von Stroheim, Albert Préjean and Jany Holt. Jouvet is particularly memorable as a tenacious cop who seems prepared to sacrifice any principles to get his man - the kind of dark, morally ambiguous role which the actor plays so well.
Legal notice: The above article was written for filmsdefrance.com and is protected by copyright. No part of it should be reproduced in any medium without the author's prior consent in writing.

User Comments

Click here to display user comments or add a comment of your own


Whilst performing his famous mind-reading act at a Parisian nightclub, Professor Winckler recognises his most hated enemy in the audience...
[Read more...]

Film Credits

Directed by Pierre Chenal
Starring: Erich von Stroheim, Albert Préjean, Jany Holt, Louis Jouvet, Véra Flory
[Read more...]

Related articles

2015 films
2015 film releases

Read more about the French films to be released in 2015...

1920s films
The Silent Era

Before the advent of sound France was a world leader in cinema. Find out more about this overlooked era.

1930s films
The Golden Age

Discover the best French films of the 1930s, a decade of cinematic delights...

To buy or watch this film

The film L'Alibi may be available on amazon via the following links:
  • amazon.co.uk
  • amazon.fr
  • amazon.com
Visit our on-line stores to browse the latest films out on DVD and books relating to cinema.
Any purchases will allow us to maintain and grow filmsdefrance.com.