Classic Film Review: Unwanted Protection

Film Noir of the Week: Bodyguard (1948)

Bodyguard is a film noir, directed by Richard O. Fleischer, that was released in 1948 by RKO Radio Pictures. Frank Noblo, Jr. and Harry Essex are the credited screenwriters while George W. George and Robert Altman apparently conceived the story. The film stars Lawrence Tierney as a fired LAPD detective named Mike Carter who is approached by a man who is wanting to hire him as a bodyguard for his wealthy aunt. The cast also includes Priscilla Lane, Phillip Reed, and Steve Brodie.

Carter finds that he cannot disconnect from the Dyson family as easily as he imagined. Carter is compelled to investigate when he is subsequently framed for the murder of a former colleague. He also learns of an unsolved murder of a meat inspector connected to the Dyson family and has to look into that matter as well.

Tierney apparently had a reputation as a hard case which resulted in a very tumultuous relationship with Hollywood elite. He was a smart casting choice for this film, but working with him was apparently not likely going to be a smooth experience. The film is another one that is not too bad, but it’s not one that will be easily recalled on the off chance someone asked me about it. It didn’t make any real impact on me as I was watching it. It is mildly interesting in that it provides another glimpse to the society in LA at that time. Tierney’s biography is of more interest than this particular film. It is possible, if not likely, that many others could appreciate this a bit more than I did, and God bless them.

There was a pretty good fight scene in the climax of the film. I thought Priscilla Lane was a charming leading lady, but I had learned that this was her final film before retiring from the movies. Really, the performance of the cast was solid enough. No one stood out as being terrible on the screen.

It’s a pretty average film for the most part, but it’s possible that others may find an overlooked gem when watching this. I would still recommend that others take a look at it, but I would also urge them to take a look at Tierney’s often outrageous behavior offscreen. Anyway, Bodyguard is not a must-see, however it does not qualify as being a total waste of time either.

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