Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


SHIELD FOR MURDER (1954). Directors: Howard W. Koch; Edmond O'Brien.

Cop Barney Nolan (Edmond O'Brien, who co-directed) has been on the straight and narrow for most of his career, but when an opportunity comes he takes it, shooting a crook and hiding away the cash that the dead man had on him. He claims the killing was in the line of duty, but a deaf-mute witness says otherwise. Nolan's girlfriend, Patty (Marla English) and Mark Brewster (John Agar), the cop he mentored, have faith in Nolan's innocence but as evidence piles up against him even that faith is tested. Okay crime thriller is kind of weak on characterization, and while the acting is okay, it's not exactly on the subtle side. O'Brien comes off best, as expected, Agar is Agar (although even he has his moments), English makes very little impression, and Emile Meyer as the police captain is so busy chewing the scenery that it hurts just to look at him. Carolyn Jones appears briefly as a slightly drunk gal that Nolan meets in a bar and completely takes over the movie for five minutes. A fast-pace doesn't hurt, but you've seen this all before. Marla English was also in Three Bad Sisters and The She-Creature.

Verdict: Watch D.O.A. instead. **.

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