6.5/10
508
18 user 19 critic

Bodyguard (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 4 September 1948 (USA)
After being fired for insubordination, homicide detective Mike Carter is hired as bodyguard by the owner of a local meat-packing plant where a meat inspector has been murdered.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Fred Niblo Jr. (screenplay), Harry Essex (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jim Fletcher, waking up from a coma, finds he is to be given a court martial for treason and charged with informing on fellow inmates in a Japanese prison camp during WWII. Escaping from ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Bill Williams, Barbara Hale, Richard Quine
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An obsessed cop tracks an elusive serial killer who strangles his victims on rainy nights.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: William Lundigan, Dorothy Patrick, Jeff Corey
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Law-abiding Jimmy Ferguson soon regrets giving a ride to killer Steve Morgan.

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Lawrence Tierney, Ted North, Nan Leslie
Born to Kill (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Claire Trevor, Lawrence Tierney, Walter Slezak
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A well-planned robbery goes awry, with tough cop Cordell in pursuit.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, William Talman
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Many interested parties are after the loot from a factory payroll heist but the mobster who hid it has amnesia after undergoing experimental brain surgery in the prison hospital.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Edmond O'Brien, Audrey Totter, Ted de Corsia
Dillinger (1945)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

John Dillinger begins his life of crime as a petty thief, meets his future gang in prison and eventually masterminds a series of daring robberies.

Director: Max Nosseck
Stars: Lawrence Tierney, Edmund Lowe, Anne Jeffreys
The Accused (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A beautiful psychology professor tries to hide a self-defense killing.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Loretta Young, Robert Cummings, Wendell Corey
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three men case a small town very carefully, with plans to rob the bank on the upcoming Saturday, which turns violent and deadly.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Victor Mature, Richard Egan, Stephen McNally
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Three strangers, each with a serious problem in their lives, share a sweepstakes ticket which they wished upon together before a Chinese idol.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald
The Threat (1949)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vicious hood 'Red' Kluger escapes from Folsom Prison and carries through on his threats to the detective who arrested him and the D.A. who got him convicted.

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Michael O'Shea, Virginia Grey, Charles McGraw
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lawrence Tierney ... Mike Carter
Priscilla Lane ... Doris Brewster
Phillip Reed ... Freddie Dysen
June Clayworth ... Connie Fenton
Elisabeth Risdon ... Gene Dysen
Steve Brodie ... Fenton
Frank Fenton ... Lt. Borden
Charles Cane Charles Cane ... Capt. Wayne
Edit

Storyline

Homicide detective Mike Carter is tossed off the police force for insubordination and violating regulations. He reluctantly takes a job as bodyguard to Mrs. Gene Dysen, the owner of a local meat-packing plant. In investigating threats against her life, Carter begins unraveling the murder of a meat inspector at the plant, but not before he himself is framed for the murder of his former supervisor on the police force. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Real "Who-done-it" Thriller


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 September 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crime na Estrada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's earliest documented telecast took place in Los Angeles Saturday 12 May 1956 on KHJ (Channel 9); it soon became a popular local favorite as it first aired in Memphis Sunday 20 May 1956 on WHBQ (Channel 13), in Altoona Thursday 7 June 1956 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Cleveland Saturday 15 September 1956 on KYW (Channel 3), in Columbus Saturday 22 September 1956 on WLW-C (Channel 4), in New York City Monday 24 September 1956 on WOR (Channel 9), in Philadelphia Saturday 29 September 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6), in San Francisco Tuesday 16 October 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Boston Wednesday 14 November 1956 on WNAC (Channel 7), om New Haven Sunday 25 November 1956 on WNHC (Channel 8), and in Dayton Saturday 8 December 1956 on WLW-D (Channel 2). See more »

Goofs

When Carter drives up to Dysen's house, the handbrake can be heard long before the car actually stops. See more »

Quotes

Mike Carter: I keep the meat warm.
See more »

Connections

References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Early Fleischer, taut noir
9 December 2001 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

Made in 1948, ‘Bodyguard' is the first of several effective and taut noir B-thrillers made by Richard Fleischer at the start of his career. ‘Follow Me Quietly' and ‘Clay Pigeon' came next, (both 1949) and finally, with increasing assurance, ‘Armored Car Robbery' (1950) and ‘The Narrow Margin (1952). There's a comparison to be made here between Fleischer's work and that of his contemporary Anthony Mann. Starting with ‘Desperate' (1947) Mann founded his own directorial reputation on several effective B-thrillers around the same time, work now highly regarded among fans. Fleischer's films, though sharing many of the same qualities, are relatively less well known and await discovery. While in the 50's Mann went on to direct a great series of Westerns with James Stewart such as ‘Naked Spur' and then to the quality epic ‘El Cid', Fleischer's later career was workman-like, entertaining, if generally unexceptional.

‘Bodyguard' apparently exists in two version. There's a 75 minute ‘director's cut' out there somewhere. The one discussed here is the original 62 minute release. I suspect that most of those missing minutes might have disappeared from the potentially gruesome meat factory finale. These are scenes which feel slightly abbreviated, but generally continuity and plot seem unimpaired from any trimming. As the then unknown Robert Altman co-wrote the screen play, it would be interesting to see what has been excised.

At the heat of the film is ex-homicide detective Mike Carter, played with stoney-eyed, rigid-backed conviction by Lawrence Tierney. The plot is the old one of the hero framed by the real villains to throw the law off their scent, and of his attempts to clear his name while on the run. Tierney (who also appeared in ‘Reservoir Dogs' (1992) - no doubt chosen by Tarantino because of his minor noir-iconic status) had just appeared in one of the great films of the genre, Wise's ‘Born to Kill/Lady of Deceit' (1947) when he was cast next in ‘Bodyguard'. A legendary real life tough guy, his brawling presence dominates proceedings. As an actor he had the ability to project a dead calm, scowling brutalness - ideal for noir, a characteristic he showed beyond doubt as a superb Dillinger in the movie of the same name (1945). In the present film he is a cop at the outset, but soon loses his job after fighting with his boss - in effect turning into a private detective. Although he is hired as a `bodyguard', Carter's semi-official investigative powers, his struggle to clear his name after he is framed, as well as the pervading air of conspiracy and persecution place this clearly in noir territory. Ultimately Carter ends up protecting his own body from the manhunt and killers, rather than that of his client.

The noir style frequently brought out the best in directors of all abilities. The shooting requirements of the genre (shadow, cheap sets, anonymous location and so on) made a virtue out of low budgets. Fleischer's tough film is punctuated with some particularly effective scenes. At one point Carter is led by evidence to an opticians office. Himself seated in an examination chair for a check up, Carter quizzes the nervous eye doctor. As he questions his suspect, Carter's eye fills the screen in dramatic close up, his iris contracting under the light. The view is disconcerting as it reveals the ex-cop under a microscope, as it were, while the emotionless hard-boiled dialogue continues over the image. We are as close to the man as we can get, but his language reveals nothing.

A would-be attacker is reflected in a mirror, and a swift struggle ensues. Carter brutally subdues both men, then both he and girlfriend bluff their way past an arriving policeman to escape. There's tension, pacing and originality of staging here, enough to do justice to a bigger crime picture. Mirrors have already played a part in the plot: earlier, with calm professionalism, Carter deduced why an assassin's bullet missed Gene Dyson. The killer, he decides, had mistaken the old lady's reflection for the real thing. Later in the plot, the near perfect sight of the murdered meat inspector is the fact upon which the case ultimately turns. The equation of ‘seeing' with ‘comprehension' - a common conceit in noir - falls into place discreetly, without strain.

The biggest weakness of the film is the relationship between Carter and his girlfriend. Too often a compliant and docile investigative companion, and too quick to put up with the rigours involved, she lacks strength and individuality. When Carter rushes to her assistance at the end of the film (a setting reminiscent of the meat-packing plant robbery of ‘Gun Crazy' filmed two years later) one feels she has served her only necessary purpose apart from lazily filling out his home life. With the luxury of a longer running time, she might have added another dimension to the hero. She is reduced to a plot device, a noir damsel in distress.

‘Bodyguard' is well worth seeking out among more obscure noirs. There are better films but the non-nonsense strengths of this production, as well as the pleasure of seeing Tierney playing a star role make it enjoyable.


15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 18 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse all our free movies and TV series

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed