A suspended cop is framed for the murder of his former boss after he takes on a job as the bodyguard for a meat-packing heiress.
An RKO programmer of 75 minutes, Bodyguard is an entertaining mystery thriller that harks back to the hard-boiled pulp published in the 20s and 30s by Black Mask magazine. The writers include a young Robert Altman. While it never presumes to go beyond its b-origins, as an early feature from director Richard Fleischer, better known for later b-noirs such as Follow Me Quietly (1949), Armored Car Robbery (1950) and The Narrow Margin (1952), the movie has some nicely conceived scenes that place it above the ordinary. Solid turns by tough-guy Lawrence Tierney as a framed ex-cop and the cutest girl-next-door Priscilla Lane as his girl, complete the package.
Fast-paced and breezy, and aided by snappy dialog, the picture is all about entertainment. No angst or femme-fatales, just a a good old yarn about the corrupt rich and their criminal machinations. The mystery is sustained with just the right hints so that when the bad guys are found out you are rewarded with having your half-held suspicions confirmed. The climax at the meat-packing plant has some ‘cute’ mis-en-scene involving a hog-saw and and a meat cleaver. Great fun.
These shots from the movie attest to its visual panache.