Shield For Murder (1954)

Shield For Murder (1954) Front Cover DVD
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Lieutenant Barney Nolan (Edmond O'Brien), a 16-year veteran of the police force, has had it with the world he inhabits. In a secluded alley late one night, he fatally shoots a bookmaker in the back and steals the $25,000 the man has on him. He then claims he had been forced to kill the man because he tried to escape custody. Sergeant Mark Brewster (John Agar), his friend and protégé, believes him, as does the Captain of Detectives, Captain Gunnarson (Emile Meyer). However, newspaper reporter Cabot (Herbert Butterfield) suspects otherwise.

Barney takes his girlfriend, Patty Winters (Marla English), to see a new, furnished house that is for sale, in which he suggests the two of them could build a wonderful life. He slips away to hide the money outside, in back of the home. When he returns and the two have a romantic moment; it is insinuated he asks Patty to marry him and, through a conversation later with Mark, it is clear that she says yes.

Packy Reed (Hugh Sanders), the dead man's boss, sends private investigators Fat Michaels (Claude Akins) and Laddie O'Neil to tell Barney he wants to see him. After Barney leaves, the two men accost Patty. Packy gives Barney one chance to return the money, but Barney is uncooperative.

From his apartment, deaf-mute Ernst Sternmuller witnessed the bookmaker's murder. He goes to the police station with a note explaining what he saw, but gives it to Barney, whom he does not recognize as the killer. After getting rid of Sternmuller with a promise that an officer will drop by, Barney later goes to the man's apartment to try to buy his silence. When he suddenly recognizes the clothing, Sternmuller realizes who Barney is. He refuses to take money to keep quiet. Barney furiously pushes the old man, who falls, strikes his head and dies. Barney stages things to appear accidental, unaware that Sternmuller had been writing on a large notepad the full account of the murder. Mark finds this narrative, which fully implicates Barney, while investigating Sternmuller's death.

Meanwhile, Barney drinks and fends off a flirtatious woman in a restaurant. He repeatedly attempts to reach Patty on the phone and, when he finally does, she reveals that Michaels and O'Neil had approached her. Enraged, he telephones the two men to come meet him, on the pretense that he has the money with him. When they arrive, he savagely beats both of them into unconsciousness with the butt of his revolver.

Barney goes home, where he discovers Mark is waiting to take him in. The two men struggle and Barney knocks Mark out after momentarily considering shooting him in the back of the head. He goes to Patty and persuades her to pack up and start a new life with him, telling her only that Packy is trying to frame him for an accidental shooting so he has decided to go away for a while. When he carelessly says that he has money 'saved', Patty realizes what Mark has suggested to her about Barney is true. They argue and he slaps her and leaves.

A recovered Mark takes the notepad with Sturnmuller's narrative to Gunnarson, who initiates a manhunt. Barney overhears this on his police car radio, retrieves his old police patrolman's uniform and goes into hiding. Through a shady acquaintance, he arranges for passage to Buenos Aires, but when he goes to pick up the ticket at a crowded high school pool, finds he has been set up - a bandaged Michaels is there. Barney had been attempting a swindle, as the 'money' he had handed over was nothing but newspaper clippings. He and Michaels shoot it out, while panicked swimmers dive for cover. Barney manages to kill the other man, then heads to the house to retrieve the money. By then, Mark has learned from Patty that the probability is that when the couple had visited the house, Barney had hidden the $25,000 there. The police converge on the house as Barney arrives. He shoots it out with them and manages to dig up the money, but as he emerges from the yard, he is confronted and, when he starts shooting, the police have no choice but to kill him.


Edmond O'Brien as Lieutenant Barney Nolan
Marla English as Patty Winters
John Agar as Sergeant Mark Brewster
Emile Meyer as Captain Gunnarson
Carolyn Jones as Girl at Bar (Beth)
Claude Akins as Fat Michaels
Lawrence Ryle as Laddie O'Neil
Herbert Butterfield as Cabot (reporter)
Hugh Sanders as Packy Reed
William Schallert as Assistant District Attorney Andy Tucker

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For some backstory about this film Click Here for video intro of this movie and Click Here for video afterword of this movie by Eddie Muller from TCM's Noir Alley.

The cost of this item is $9.99. This is good quality picture and sound. This DVD comes with artwork, label and case. See provided images above, these images are of the actual items.

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