Bodyguard (1948 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Fleischer
Screenplay by
Story by
Produced bySid Rogell
CinematographyRobert De Grasse
Edited byElmo Williams
Music byPaul Sawtell
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • September 2, 1948 (1948-09-02) (United States)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States

Bodyguard is a 1948 American film noir directed by Richard Fleischer and written by Fred Niblo Jr.and Harry Essex. It is based on a story written by George W. George and Robert Altman. The drama features Lawrence Tierney and, in her final screen appearance, Priscilla Lane.


After being put on suspension at the LAPD, Mike Carter punches his lieutenant and quits in disgust. A few days later, at a baseball game, he is approached by Fred Dysen, who wants to hire Carter as a bodyguard for his aunt, Gene Dysen, a widow and head of Continental Meat Packing Corp. Carter refuses. Later, at his apartment, an envelope is slipped under the door with $2000 in it. Carter rushes out, but the person who left it is already gone.

Carson drives to the Dysen mansion in Pasadena, where he pushes his way in and, after meeting the members of the household, finds Mrs. Dysen is uninterested in having a bodyguard. Carter returns the money to Fred, but just as he is leaving, someone shoots at Mrs. Dysen but gets away. After she goes to bed, Fred convinces Carter to stay, just for the night, and Carter takes back the money.

At 3:45 am, Carter catches Mrs. Dysen's secretary, Connie, digging the bullets out of the wall, then sees Mrs. Dysen drive away. He follows her car to the downtown Los Angeles warehouse district, where he is hit on the head, waking up later in his car, with the lieutenant shot dead beside him, on the railroad tracks with a train bearing down. Carter barely gets out in time.

Realizing he is being framed for the lieutenant's murder, he asks his fiancée, Doris, who is the lieutenant's secretary, to find out all she can about the cases the lieutenant was working on. She drives him to the Dysen home; finding Mrs. Dysen not at home he goes to the plant; she is not there either.

In the info on Lieutenant Borden's cases, one stands out, the death of an inspector at the Continental Meat Packing plant. Back at the Dysen mansion, Carter confronts Mrs. Dysen about her movements that morning. After she gives him a plausible explanation, he calls Doris and asks her to bring him more information on the inspector's death. He then talks to the dead man's brother, who recognizes Carter as being wanted by the police. Carter discovers evidence that the inspector's sight was not as faulty as claimed in the accident report.

Narrowly avoiding arrest checking out the testimony of the optometrist at his office, Carter next tries to find information at the glasses manufacturer; it's after hours so he breaks in. Finding the information he needs, he calls the captain and tells him to meet him at the Dysen home. Meanwhile, at the plant, where she went despite Carter telling her not to, Doris spies on Fred and Fenton, the supervisor.

At the mansion, Carter confronts Mrs. Dysen, who reveals that Freddie thinks Fenton has been adding water to the meat to increase its price and pocketing the difference. The inspector was murdered to cover it up. Carter tells her he believes Fred is in with Fenton on the fraud. Discovering Doris is in danger at the plant, Carter steals the police car and heads to the plant.

At the plant, Fred, reveals how he will frame Fenton for the deaths and exonerate himself, with Fenton dead. Carter arrives just as Fred is about to shoot Doris and, after Fred runs out of bullets, fights with and knocks out Fred. The police arrive and take both Carter and Fred into custody. The next scene shows the newlywed Mr. & Mrs. Mike Carter heading off for their honeymoon in a police cruiser.


Critical reception[edit]

Brian Baxter of The Guardian identified Bodyguard as one of Fleischer's early RKO films that has stood the test of time.[1] Michael Barrett of PopMatters rated it 6/10 and called it "a trim little B film that’s an unpolished gem of late-'40s noir".[2]


  1. ^ Baxter, Brain (March 28, 2006). "Richard Fleischer". The Guardian. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  2. ^ Barrett, Michael (March 2, 2011). "'Bodyguard': A Two-Fisted B Picture -- from Robert Altman?". PopMatters. Retrieved January 31, 2015.

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