“Good pitchers don't turn up every four years like Presidents.”
I think everyone in their life has known or knows someone who is a compulsive liar. Some people lie to keep something secret or they lie to make up excuses to issues. In the 1935 comedy Alibi Ike the main character is a compulsive liar always making up excuses for silly things even if they are good things.
The Cubs baseball team is looking for a few new players. One of them is a player named Frank Farrell (Joe E. Brown) who is a pitcher. Frank is a day late. He comes crashing through the fence with his car onto the field. Everyone is stunned and thinks he is nuts but he is a good pitcher and a good batter. From the moment the team meets him he makes up little lies about everything. They take to calling him Alibi Ike.
Frank shuts out the Yankees in an exhibition game. Dolly Stevens (Olivia de Havilland) and her sister Bess are at the game. Bess is married to Cap the manager of the Cubs. In the ninth inning Frank starts to look tired. He says he just walked some people to prove he is not tired and that he can win the game. To prove so he has the entire outfield sit down around him. Unfortunately Frank winds up blowing the game.
The first game of the season Frank starts off well until he gets a telegram from Dolly wishing him well. After that he cannot stop thinking about her and messes up. They have been seeing each other since the night he blew the game and they really like each other. One day Frank was trying to get a ring for Dolly when two other players from the team come in. Frank begins to lie and tells them he was getting a ring for his sister. The guys take him out of the store. Frank walks back in the store and says he wants a pipe. The store clerk thinks he is crazy and calls the police.
When Frank gets back to the hotel that night a man named Crawford is there waiting for him. Crawford tells Frank that he is part of a youth boys club and takes Frank to a room full of older men. They all want Frank to throw a few games. Frank does not want to do that.
Dolly meets Frank in New York City. He asks her to marry him and she happily accepts. That night however, he lies to the guys about being with Dolly and wanting to marry her. Dolly overhears and gets upset with him. She gives his ring back. Frank loses the next game over losing Dolly. Crawford and his men think he threw the game like they asked him to do. Cap and the owner see Frank open an envelope full of money and they immediately think Frank threw the game. They kick him off the team. Bess tells Cap and the owner that Frank did not use Dolly as his alibi because he really loves her. The owner goes to speak to Frank who replies that he is quitting baseball after the way he has been treated with people thinking he was a cheat. Bess goes to him and tells him she will try to get Dolly to see him.
Cap and the owner tell Frank to go to Crawford and tell him that he will lose the next game. Neither one of the men has any plan on losing the game though. Crawford covers his bases and sends a young guy to get the truth out of Frank. With the truth out Crawford has Frank kidnapped.
Of course Frank manages to escape Crawford’s clutch and make it to the game in time to win and gets the girl.
Alibi Ike was a cute film. Joe E. Brown got on my nerves after a while and that was the only thing that bothered me about the film. This was Olivia de Havilland’s first film to be released. She had made A Midsummer’s Night Dream first but Alibi Ike was released before. She was adorable in her short scenes. Alibi Ike is not available to view on Youtube but it is available on DVD.