Shield for Murder

1954

Action / Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

5
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50%
IMDb Rating 6.8/10 10 1715 1.7K

Director

Top cast

Carolyn Jones as Girl at Bar
Edmond O'Brien as Barney Nolan
John Agar as Mark Brewster
William Boyett as Policeman Cooper
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
750.3 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 21 min
Seeds 3
1.36 GB
1920*1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 21 min
Seeds 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by melvelvit-1 7 / 10

The heat is on "the heat" in this hard-boiled B

Detective Barney Nolan (Edmond O'Brien) drags a two-bit bookie into an alley, shoots him in the back, robs him, and later claims it was done in the line of duty. His young partner, Mark Brewster (John Agar), believes him unquestioningly but their superior is a little more realistic, seeing as Nolan shot and killed a couple of Mexicans two years earlier. Believing that "a cop is given a gun and the authority to use it and one's no good without the other", the Captain closes the case but things heat up when gangster "Packy" Reed lets it be known that the bookie was carrying $25,000 of the mob's money and they want it back. A deaf-mute witness to the crime comes forward but when he, too, winds up dead, Brewster begins to have doubts about his partner/mentor and starts to fall for Nolan's girl, Patty Winters (Marla English)...

In the late 1940's, Los Angeles was one of the most corrupt cities in America. In 1949, Governor Earl Warren appointed a California Crime Commission to investigate and one of the witnesses was Sgt. Charles Stoker, an honest cop. Some of the problems were depicted in Fritz Lang's roman-a-clef of the "Black Dahlia" case, THE BIG HEAT(1953) and was given a happy ending that didn't occur in real life. Hounded off the force, Stoker would go on to write "Thicker 'N Thieves" and "L.A. Rogue Cop" in the early 1950's. The public's interest in police corruption reached its peak around this time and three movies were made from the books of William P. McGivern (who also seems to have used Stoker as inspiration): Fritz Lang's THE BIG HEAT, SHIELD FOR MURDER and Robert Taylor's ROGUE COP.

SHIELD FOR MURDER is an unpretentious programmer that leaves messages to Western Union, putting the focus on action and violence instead. What social commentary there is comes from an old newspaperman who's seen it all and offers the opinion that it isn't bad cops that frustrate society but the "tin wall of silence" that goes up whenever there's an investigation. Detective Nolan is a vicious bad egg but, strangely enough, also has a softer side; he lets a young shoplifter go free the way he did his protégé, Brewster, years before. Nolan says of working so long in the kind of environment he does, "some of it is bound to rub off" and things eventually spiral out of control and a dragnet ("Operation Tin God") is formed to bring the rogue cop down. The everyday brutality and strong-arm tactics that went into police work back in the day are also shown in a relatively matter-of-fact manner. Many faces from the Golden Age of Television pop up including Claude Akins as an underworld enforcer and Carolyn Jones as a bar fly who witnesses Nolan's sadism. Jones was also a B-girl in THE BIG HEAT. This was the "official" film debut of 50s cult movie star Marla English, "the poor man's Elizabeth Taylor", and she acquits herself well as Nolan's frightened girlfriend. Co-directed by star Edmond O'Brien (with producer Howard W. Koch), SHIELD FOR MURDER is a fast-paced crime drama that builds to an exciting climax and would play great with THE BIG HEAT in a "good cop/bad cop" double feature that doubles as a Carolyn Jones two-fer. Well worth checking out.

Trivia: The shadow of a boom mike is clearly visible in the alley during the opening sequence. 7/10

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 7 / 10

solid noir

Veteran police Lieutenant Barney Nolan (Edmond O'Brien) murders a bookie and steals $25k from him. A deaf mute neighbor secretly witnesses the event. Nolan stages the crime scene and claims that it was an accident. His Captain reluctantly covers for him and his friend Sergeant Mark Brewster (John Agar) accepts his explanation despite suspicion from the missing money. He plans to use the money to get his girlfriend Patty Winters out of being a sleazy cigarette girl.

This is solid crime noir. It follows the villain and his desperate need for money. It's a descend into hell for a cop turning into a criminal. I like that this is Nolan's story more than Brewster. It would have been interesting to do a full character study on him. This is solid and intriguing.

Reviewed by blanche-2 6 / 10

'50s B noir

Edmond O'Brien has a "Shield for Murder" in this 1954 noir also starring Marla English, John Agar, and Carolyn Jones. O'Brien plays a bad cop - one review here said he was a good cop who gave into temptation. Not so. He was a bad cop, who had been suspected of trouble in the past but never caught.

In the beginning of the film, Barney (O'Brien), a detective, kills a bookie and steals the $25,000 that the victim is carrying. He claims that he killed in self defense, and his story is accepted. Then the fact that the bookie was carrying money, now missing, emerges. What Barney doesn't know at first is that there is a witness, a deaf and dumb man, who saw the whole thing.

Barney is a person of great interest to the bookie's boss, and also, a young man he helped bring up in the force (John Agar), his staunchist defender against criticism, is anxious to clear him. Barney, meanwhile, wants to purchase a dream house for him and his girlfriend (English) and get married. When he finds out about the witness, he needs to do some fast work.

O'Brien gives a very hard-edged performance. His character is completely unlikable. The very pretty Marla English unfortunately was unable to act. In one scene, however, Barney goes into a bar and meets a platinum blonde, who turns out to be actress Carolyn Jones, normally known for her stylish short black haircut.

Pretty brutal for the '50s. O'Brien elevates the material. Interesting noir, co-directed by Howard Koch and O'Brien.

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