The Big Nowhere #5: Shield For Murder

The latest in my series on the 4:3 site on the best film noir you’ve never of is live, Howard W Koch’s wonderful 1954 bad cop noir, Shield For Murder, starring actor Edmond O’Brien. Not a great film production wise, but as bad cop films go, it’s as dark and twisted as they come. You can read the piece in full on the 4:3 site here.


4 Responses

  1. The film is available on Amazon Instant Video for $2.99.

  2. give it a 4/5. A very good movie. Couple of points on the noir scale. If we define film noir as the downward spiral of an otherwise good man at the hands of an evil woman, this movie misses the mark. But still, we see a good cop gone wrong, undone by his own machinations. The woman, his girlfriend, is a good soul, something rare. No femme fatale here. The barfly/hooker he meets could have been developed a little differently, a la Marilyn Monroe in Asphalt Jungle. I thought the ending could have been different with the woman and the good detective being paired together. The acting here is taut. The film does not spare an once of wasted time making its point. Speaking of the ending, reminded me of LA Confidential with the swarm of cops climbing a hill to gun down the corrupt ones among their ranks. Like they say, there is nothing new under the sun.

  3. Three more points and I will shut up:
    1. Gotta love the very (un) political correctness of this movie. An angry cop brings in a truant/petty thief. O’Brien assumes custody and tell the uniformed cop “now go home and beat up your wife.”
    2. O’Brien slaps his girlfriend across the face. He did the same thing to his girlfriend in DOA. I think this was accepted as a normal part of a relationship back then.
    3. The role of the newspaperman. No way a beat reporter would be accepted into the inner circle of a detective squad.

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