Shield for Murder (1954) A Cops Descent Into Oblivion

Shield for Murder (1954) poster edmond o'brien john agar film noir rogue cop

How come the criminals, all the gangsters, fences, wiseguys all seem to be making bucks? Seeing all the crooks you put away getting released early and still making big money.  Racketeers that manage to slip through your fingers living the life of luxury from the proceeds of organized crime. It starts to get to Lieutenant Barney Nolan (Edmond O’Brien). 16 years on the force laying down the law on the streets, for what? a paltry pension and no savings!. He deserves more. He’s put his life on the line every single day seeking justice for these damn criminals, how is it fair? He dreams of a big house in the suburbs, all the mod cons, the whole shebang, with his beautiful, happy smiling girl, Patty Winters (Marla English) by his side. It would be a wonderful life, he’d have to use his badge to get it though but how far would he go?

Tagline – A wild trigger finger… a lust for big money… and a weak spot for fast blondes hurled him from the straight-and-narrow to a crooked one-way road!

Shield for Murder (1954) bad cop edmond o'brien shooting book keeper in the back

Well he starts off with a plan, of course it’s a foolproof plan? This is the first time he uses his Shield For Murder and hopefully it will be the last? 25 thousand dollars would set him up for life. He’s got the perfect plan, follow the bookkeeper, take him down an alley, shoot him with the silencer then blast off his revolver in the air. Grabbing the money, he waits for the police to turn up, he reveals he killed the man by accident because he tried to escape custody. He’s well respected, no one with think different. His partner and friend Sergeant Mark Brewster (John Agar) believes him, well he is the model cop. Barney Nolan sighs a relief, he should get away with this, he left a few hundred on the bookie to seal the deal. He’s been careful right? No one had seen him had they?………..

Shield for Murder (1954) bad cop edmond o'brien in car with Marla EnglishShield for Murder (1954) captain of detective emile meyer edmond o'brien john agar film noir rogue cop

What else is in the mix? A gangster, a nosey squeezebox playing deaf and mute guy, a flirtatious lady (Carolyn Jones) in need of company and free drinks, two odd acting private investigators, a wise old news reporter and the brilliant Emile Meyer as Captain Gunnarson.

Shield for Murder (1954) task force police Emile Meyer as Captain partner John AgarShield for Murder (1954) John Agar private investigators and Marla English

Two scenes stand tall for me, one brutal in the restaurant, bar that comes out of nowhere, frenzied. The other is an incredible staged chase through a swimming pool and it’s masterfully achieved. People pushed and pulled through corridors to swimmers diving and belly flopping, desperate to escape the carnage erupting around them.

Shield for Murder (1954) bar drinking edmond o'brien flirtatious lady (Carolyn Jones)

The film is directed by star Edmond O’Brien and Howard W. Koch. It’s based on a novel of the same name by author William P. McGivern who wrote the brilliant Odds Against Tomorrow. Shield For Murder is a really darn good film, propelled by the devious Edmond O’Brien fall into oblivion. You really get dragged into his plight, yeah he is the bad guy but you almost, almost, root for him. There’s something raw and real about his worries and despair. From drowning his sorrows in a bar to having an unexpected drinking partner to bother him as he tries to work his way out of this deep hole he’s dug. Each corner adds another problem for the Lieutenant to squeeze out of. It’s a great film noir and the tagline line below sums it up hehe. Have fun if you watch it.

Tagline – Dame-hungry killer-cop runs berserk!

8 thoughts on “Shield for Murder (1954) A Cops Descent Into Oblivion

    • Sure you can get a good take out of it yourself Bro. I’ll be lucky to push 20 views in the world so definitely room for another review hehe. Be good to see that poster get an airing.
      PS. You won’t get the lookalike but I see the UK presenter Jonathan Ross in that blue suit with gun in hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Man oh man, you’re really hitting the noir films! (Well, back in September you were). I discovered this one years ago, and I’ve always remembered that crazy tag line: ‘Dame-Hungry Killer-Cop Runs Berserk!’ What a classic! I taped it off TCM a while back, so I’ll have to give it another look. O’Brien did another cool little ‘unknown’ noir called ‘711 Ocean Drive’; if you ever get the chance, give it a look!

    Liked by 1 person

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