29 user 12 critic

Shield for Murder (1954)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | September 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.


Richard Alan Simmons (screenplay), John C. Higgins (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

Watch Now

With Prime Video



Learn more

More Like This 

Cry Vengeance (1954)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Violent ex-cop Vic Barron comes to Ketchikan, Alaska seeking revenge on an old enemy.

Director: Mark Stevens
Stars: Mark Stevens, Martha Hyer, Skip Homeier
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An FBI agent investigates the murder of his partner by taking over the 3 cases he was working on, determined to find his killer.

Director: Arnold Laven
Stars: Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer
Manhandled (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The secretary to a phony psychiatrist finds herself caught up in the murder of a patient's wife and realizes that her life is also in danger.

Director: Lewis R. Foster
Stars: Dan Duryea, Dorothy Lamour, Sterling Hayden
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Starting with a violent prison break, clever, ruthless Ralph Cotter corrupts everyone around him.

Director: Gordon Douglas
Stars: James Cagney, Barbara Payton, Helena Carter
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Many interested parties are after the loot from a factory payroll heist but the mobster who hid it has amnesia after undergoing experimental brain surgery in the prison hospital.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Edmond O'Brien, Audrey Totter, Ted de Corsia
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After witnessing an incident on a foreign ship off California coast, a U.S. Treasury agent aboard a Coast Guard vessel decides to further investigate the matter by following a crime trail leading to China, Egypt, Lebanon and Cuba.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Dick Powell, Signe Hasso, Maylia
Undertow (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After being released from prison, an ex-convict is framed for a murder. The man sets out to find the real killers before the police blame the crime on him.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Scott Brady, John Russell, Dorothy Hart
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An isolated diner on California's 101 highway provides the backdrop of the story involving nuclear secrets, foreign spies and federal agents.

Director: Edward Dein
Stars: Terry Moore, Frank Lovejoy, Keenan Wynn
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Police lieutenant Sam Carson investigates a political murder after the victim is dumped at the door of police headquarters.

Director: Otto Brower
Stars: Carole Landis, William Gargan, Richard Crane
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An unhinged, deceptively mild-mannered bank robber escapes prison, seeking revenge on the cop who accidentally killed his wife during a gun battle.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Joseph Cotten, Rhonda Fleming, Wendell Corey
Blonde Ice (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A society reporter keeps herself in the headlines by marrying a series of wealthy men, all of whom die under mysterious circumstances.

Director: Jack Bernhard
Stars: Robert Paige, Leslie Brooks, Russ Vincent
Dear Murderer (1947)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When successful business man Lee Warren suspects his wife is having an affair, he sets out find her lover, kill him, and make it look like suicide. Complications set in, when he finds out ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Crabtree
Stars: Eric Portman, Greta Gynt, Dennis Price


Complete credited cast:
Edmond O'Brien ... Barney Nolan
Marla English ... Patty Winters
John Agar ... Mark Brewster
Emile Meyer ... Capt. Gunnarson
Carolyn Jones ... Girl at Bar
Claude Akins ... Fat Michaels
Lawrence Ryle Lawrence Ryle ... Laddie O'Neil (as Larry Ryle)
Herbert Butterfield ... Cabot
Hugh Sanders ... Packy Reed
William Schallert ... Assistant D.A.


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


Here's the brutal story of a killer-cop and the dough and dames he murdered for! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

September 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Freibrief für Mord See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Noland shows Patty the new model house, the sign out front says "Castle Heights Tract Homes". Castle Heights is an actual Los Angeles neighborhood where such homes were being built at the time. It is situated between Chevoit Hills, Beverlywood and the Santa Monica Freeway. See more »


In the beginning of the film, when the police have been called to the scene of the shooting, a traveling shot of a responding police car shows a black and white car--no lettering saying "Police", or a city logo, or badge, or anything; just a plain black and white four-door sedan. However, when it pulls into the alley next to the crime scene and the driver gets out, the word "POLICE" in large black lettering can be seen on the door. See more »


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


Referenced in Biography: Carolyn Jones: Morticia and More (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Taut and well-scripted with a good performance by O'Brien
8 May 2017 | by twhitesonSee all my reviews

Middle-aged "Detective Barney Nolan" (Edmond O'Brien) is a bad cop out to make a score for his retirement fund. He finds it by murdering a "bagman" bookie of a local mobster who was carrying $25,000 in mob-money. Nolan stages the scene to make it look like an arrest that deteriorated into an attempted escape, leaves some chump-change on the corpse, and pockets the $25k. Initially, it looks like Nolan will get away with his callous scheme and eventually retire to suburban track-house comfort with his much younger girlfriend, "Patty" (Marla English).

However, he has three things going against him. First, he already has too many shootings "in the line of duty" for this one to be completely shrugged-off by his captain (Emile Meyer), the local crime beat reporter (Herbert Butterfield),and his fellow detectives. Secondly, the mob boss, "Packy Reed" (Hugh Sanders), wants his $25k and sends two goons (one of them a young Claude Akins)after Nolan to get it back. And, finally, there was a witness to the murder. Still, Nolan has his partner, "Sgt. Mark Brewster" (John Agar), who is willing to give his friend every benefit of the doubt, but as the evidence of Nolan's guilt mounts even Sgt. Brewster starts to wonder.

The best thing about "Shield for Murder" is the character of Barney Nolan. He's a violent brute. The beast underneath the badge is never far from the surface. He murders for money. He roughs-up his girlfriend's boss for no reason other than his outrage at her skimpy cigarette girl costume. He brutally pistol-whips two men in front of a bar full of shocked and horrified patrons. Yet, we see glimpses of a man who was not always a monster- his sweetness towards his girlfriend and a scene where he lets a young shoplifter off the hook which was apparently a repeat of something he done in the past to good effect.

Edmond O'Brien probably aged more quickly and badly than any leading man actor of his era. In 1939's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" he was thin, had a mop of wavy hair, a pencil mustache, and the chiseled features of a handsome Hollywood matinée idol. Yet, within fifteen years, he was badly overweight, puffy-looking, and sweaty. It looks like he didn't give a hoot about his physical appearance which is unusual for an actor. In "Shield for Murder," though, O'Brien's disheveled appearance actually fits his character very well.

However, his scenes with 19 yr old budding starlet Marla English are a bit of a stretch. While one can definitely see what an overweight, middle-aged man would like about Ms. English's "Patty"- she looks like a combination of young Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins- we have no idea what she sees in him. Ms. English is OK in the role, but her character could have been played by almost any young actress. It appears Ms. English was chosen by the producers just so they could briefly show-off her physical assets in that cigarette girl costume.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed