YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 12: Shield for Murder (1954)

If I had a dollar every time I said a noir was one of my favorites . . .

But I can’t help it – there are so many good ones out there. And Shield for Murder (1954) is definitely on the list.

It’s got so much to recommend it: a perfect noir opening and a perfect noir end, and in between, a cast of memorable characters and unforgettable scenes, including a shootout at local swimming pool that will leave you with your mouth agape.


Edmond O’Brien is Lt. Barney Nolan, a corrupt police detective within a penchant for leaving dead bodies in his wake – he killed two “wetbacks” during a burglary attempt the previous year, we learn, and a tramp three years earlier. And in his latest act, Barney’s bullets end up in the back of a local bookmaker who had $25,000 in his pocket (until he bumped into Barney, that is).

Barney’s bosom buddies.

In Barney’s immediate orbit are his gorgeous girlfriend, Patty (Marla English), who is the inspiration for his latest misdeed, and his co-worker, Mark Brewster (John Agar), who idolizes Barney and refuses to believe the accusatory whispers he keeps hearing about his mentor and friend.


The film’s cast includes a quartet of performers who went on to greater fame on the small screen: Carolyn Jones, best known by today’s audiences as Morticia in The Addams Family; Claude Akins, who was in countless television series, including Rawhide, Laramie, Gunsmoke, B.J. and the Bear, and Movin’ On; William Schallert, who played Patty Duke’s dad on The Patty Duke Show; and Richard Deacon (again!), of The Dick Van Dyke Show fame.

Claude Akins is featured in that memorable pool shootout.

Shield for Murder was co-directed by Edmond O’Brien – his first time behind the camera. Sharing the directing duties was Howard Koch, who went on to become the producer of such films as The Dalton Girls (1957), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), and The Odd Couple (1968).

You probably already know this, but John Agar was Shirley Temple’s first husband. (Just checking.)


Join me for my next YouTube recommendation on Day 13 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 12, 2020.

2 Responses to “YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 12: Shield for Murder (1954)”

  1. Shield for Murder has been slipping out of my consciousness. I needed this kick to remind me of just how good itis.

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