Her Alibi

Director: Bruce Beresford

Cast: Tom Selleck, Paulina Porizkova, William Daniels, James Farentino, Hurd Hatfield, Ronald Guttman, Victor Argo, Patrick Wayne, Tess Harper, Bill Smitrovich, Bobo Lewis, Jane Welch, Austin Hay, W. Benson Terry, Joan Copeland, Liliana Komorowska, Alan Mixon, Barbara Caruso, William Aylward, Sara E. Pfaff, Trevor Soponis, David Chandler

Philip Blackwood (Selleck) is a successful writer of novels that blend mystery with action and romance. His editor, Sam (Daniels), chides him because he is years behind schedule in completing his next book. Suffering from writer’s block, Philip attends a New York City court hearing, seeking inspiration in the real-life travails of criminals and prosecutors. A beautiful young woman is brought to the courtroom, accused of murder, and Philip is instantly attracted to her. She typifies the exotic damsels that appear on the pages of the thrillers he writes. Disguised as a priest, Philip goes to the jail where the Romanian girl is being held and contrives to see her. After a brief meeting with Nina (Porizkova) and despite the serious charges against her, Philip falls under her spell and is convinced of her innocence. He provides a false alibi, to the annoyance of Lt. Frank Polito (Farentino), the detective investigating the homicide she is charged with. Released from jail based on Philip’s and Sam’s story that she was with Philip at the time of the murder, Nina moves into a spare room in his tri-level house in the Connecticut countryside. Philip is a somewhat goofy dreamer that translates his commonplace experiences into the imagined spectacular exploits of his fictional hero, Peter Swift. In Nina he finds the inspiration he has lacked of late. Philip begins to write again, projecting his real and imagined experiences with Nina into his new novel. Philip dismisses Detective Polito’s dark suggestions that Nina is a killer and that maybe Philip will be her next victim. But her mysterious behavior makes him sense that there is a deadly quality about her, and he begins to fear for his life. Furtive foreign agents watch Philip’s house and shadow Nina. When she attempts to leave Philip, Nina is threatened by the Romanian agents and has to return to his house. Nina narrowly evades being captured by the foreign operatives, who want her to reveal a secret she won’t share. Despite his apprehensions and her secret purpose, Philip and Nina develop a rapport and a bumpy but increasingly romantic relationship. Philip’s work on his novel progresses rapidly, his own awkward actions transformed into Peter Swift’s suave behavior and his suspicions about Nina shifted to the seductive femme fatale that Swift stylishly deals with. But the threat from the Romanian secret agents is real, and Philip and Nina struggle to avoid being slain. The ensemble cast support hilarious scenes that combine with the underlying mystery of Nina’s background and her foreign persecutors to provide a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Set in late 1980’s New England. Music by Georges Delerue. Randy Newman sings Falling in Love over the end credits.


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