Bodyguard (1948): “I keep meat warm”

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.

3 thoughts on “Bodyguard (1948): “I keep meat warm””

  1. Hi! Tony…
    I have watched this film the “Body Guard” only once, but that is “enough” in order for me to seek this film out again.

    Since it’s not available on DVD yet, I will probably have to purchase it from my seller who live in Canada.

    Tony said,”These shots from the movie attest to its visual panache…”

    Oh! Yes, very nice screenshots…indeed!
    One of the reason(s) that I plan to seek it out to watch again.
    Because you have “piqued” my interest once again in a film noir that would have been “overlooked” by me…Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee 😉 🙂

    Like

  2. “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.”

    I have not seen this film yet, but I appreciate the relaxed position, where entertainment trumps adherence to standard characters and themes. The shots chosen here are indeed striking and it appears that Lawrence Tierney had one of his more sympathetic roles, when we consider the hard bitten turns he is famous for (BORN TO KILL, RESERVOIR DOGS).

    As always, an enagaging piece, written with authority and referencing. I am at an internet cafe in Manhattan with my wife, readying to watch Jacques Tati’s MON ONCLE at the Film Forum in a restored print.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s