Spain released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Filmographies, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Granite-jawed Lawrence Tierney is the Bodyguard in this second-echelon noir thriller. Invited to resign from the LA police, short-tempered Mike Carter (Tierney) hires on to protect wealthy dowager Eugenia Dyson (Elizabeth Risdon). Before the film has reached its halfway point, Carter has been accused of murder, and is being hunted down by his former fellow officers. Only his file-clerk fiancee Doris Brewster (Priscilla Lane) believes in Carter's innocence, and it is she who is instrumental in cornering the actual killer. After a few more films like Bodyguard and The Narrow Margin, it was obvious that director Richard O. Fleischer had outgrown B pictures and was ready for more prestigious assignments.
- Language : English
- Director : Richard Fleischer
- Media Format : Import, PAL
- Run time : 62 minutes
- Actors : Lawrence Tierney, Priscilla Lane, Phillip Reed, June Clayworth, Elisabeth Risdon
- Subtitles: : Spanish
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Studio : Manga Films
- ASIN : B001PFPNFG
- Number of discs : 1
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The movie is directed by Richard Fleischer, who would go on to helm the splendid Armored Car Robbery (1950) and the truly magnificent noir, The Narrow Margin (1952). It seems Fleischer was born to make crackerjack noir films. He has a deft touch, and a superb knack for presenting quick action and heavy suspense, punctuated by snappy dialogue and flashes of ironic wit. Even in this early outing, from 1948, you can already see the directorial hallmarks that would establish Fleischer as a noir auteur.
The movie is only a little over an hour long, but it still manages to encompass a complex plot, where tough-as-nails Lawrence Tierney must clear himself of a false murder charge. He will have to dive into the murky depths of Los Angeles corruption, and a sordid world of deceptive characters who claim one thing and then do another. It seems that almost everyone is a slippery villain or a total phony, or both. One lovely exception to this is the alluring Priscilla Lane, whose luscious lips were made to be kissed. And Tierney does plenty of that! Kissing Priscilla Lane, I mean. They make a great couple, and Lane does solid sleuthing and legwork to help exonerate Tierney. She's indispensable. Meanwhile Tierney, who is certainly no softy, punches and crunches the opposition, knocking the blocks off various low-lifes and cheap hoods. The guy leads with his fists, not with his chin, as he settles the score against these crumb-bums.
And I should add that the whole cast does a good job here. Steve Brodie, who would later have a significant role in the exciting Armored Car Robbery, is already memorable in this film as a shady crook in the meat packing industry. Philip Reed and Elizabeth Risdon are also effective in their roles as an untrustworthy cad and a shady heiress, respectively. The entire film, in fact, has good support from its character players.
And there is no question that this is a tough and tense noir film, with plenty of tight scrapes and extremely close calls for both Tierney AND Lane. But there are flashes of refreshing humor as well, such as when Tierney refers to the grim and sinister household butler as "Dracula".
All in all, I would not hesitate for even a moment to recommend this film. It just goes to show that even if a movie has a low budget and very few well-known actors, it can still knock your socks off -- if it has a great script, a fast pace, tight editing, and a gifted director. As is the case here. I'm certainly happy to give this film five stars.