6.8/10
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19 user 5 critic

Shield for Murder (1954)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 27 August 1954 (USA)
When a brutal police detective Lt. murders a bookmaker's runner for $25,000 in cash, a deaf mute sees him do it, and now he finds he must kill again to cover his tracks.

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Detective Lt. Barney Nolan
...
Patty Winters
...
Detective. Sgt. Mark Brewster
Emile Meyer ...
Capt. Gunnarson
...
Beth--Girl at Bar
...
Fat Michaels
Lawrence Ryle ...
Laddie O'Neil (as Larry Ryle)
Herbert Butterfield ...
Cabot--Police Reporter
Hugh Sanders ...
Packy Reed
...
Assistant D.A.
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Storyline

A vicious cop kills a bookie's runner and steals $25,000 from the corpse. He then frames everyone in sight in order to keep the money to buy a new home for his would-be lounge singer girlfriend. Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Dame-hungry killer-cop runs berserk! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 August 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Freibrief für Mord  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The $25,000 Noland steals from the bookie would be the equivalent of $221,000 in 2015. See more »

Goofs

About 5 seconds into the opening tracking shot of "Detective Nolan" striding down the sidewalk, the shadow of the camera dolly is seen on the wall behind him. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Detective Capt. Gunnarson: [to police reporter] Write his story good.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shakespearean noir
24 July 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

And maybe all noir is Shakespearean. This one certainly is.

Edmond O'Brien plays the "Macbeth", a rotten detective named Barney, but he isn't the politically correct deputy of Mayberry by a long shot.

And it's okay to kid about it, because there is a fairly extensive dark comic relief scene in this film, where he is approached by a flirty blond girl, more cute than naturally attractive, but very charming, in a scene that culminates in a great directorial triumph of mixing violence (in the form of a beating) with dark comedy (as a patron stands in horror, yet continuing to gulp down his spaghetti).

This is a perfect noir. The crooked detective begins with murdering a man, and using his "shield" to justify his actions. Agar is well cast as the "good cop" detective. English is stunning as the woman in the triangle about to form.

We soon learn it isn't the first offense by the bad detective. The other characters play a big part in this film, as great films are usually the result of believable characters up and down the line up. These are all .300 hitters, down to the pitcher. No intentional walks to this group.

And that does penalize it in IMDb voting, since most multiple accounts are from the bubble boys who won't appreciate the three dimensional villain we're given. IMDb's beavis and butthead type voters traditionally praise the "my sadist can outsadist your sadist" movies. This won't appeal to them, as O'Brien gives an acting clinic (helped by the rest of the cast, of course).

The depth of O'Brien's acting could well be shown to classes, when one compares this to his technique in D.O.A.. For instance, there is a scene in this film where he recoils in horror upon being discovered, similar to the scene in D.O.A. where he recoils upon being diagnosed with luminous poisoning. Yet he clearly shows different expressions and emotions for recoiling from guilt and recoiling from persecution.

This film flows well, full of pace, always with some action, comedy, or interesting tid bits to keep even the most easily bored into it. This film has many positives, and no negatives.


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