Bodyguard (1948): Richard Fleischer’s Film Noir, Starring Lawrence Tierney and Priscilla Lane (in her Final Performance)

Richard Fleischer directed Bodyguard, a semi-documentary, B-level film noir, written by Fred Niblo Jr. and Harry Essex, based on a story written by George W. George and Robert Altman.

Our Grade: B (*** out of *****)

Bodyguard 1948 Film Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

The drama features Lawrence Tierney in his last starring role, and Priscilla Lane in her final screen appearance,

Mike Carter (Tierney) is forced to resign from the Los Angeles Police Department after breaking some rules. Afterwards, he becomes a bodyguard to a stubborn wealthy Eugenia Dyson (Elisabeth Risdon), despite her initial reluctance.

Then, Carter is accused of murder and is being hunted down by his former fellow officers.  But his file clerk and fiancée, Doris Brewster (Lane), who believes in his innocence, helps him in cornering the actual killer.

This modest (only one hour long) yet rim RKO film noir is tautly directed by Richard Fleischer, signaling the brilliant career he would have in the next four decades.

Lawrence Tierney as Michael C. “Mike” Carter
Priscilla Lane as Doris Brewster
Phillip Reed as Freddie Dysen
June Clayworth as Connie Fenton
Elisabeth Risdon as Gene Dysen
Steve Brodie as Fenton
Frank Fenton as Lieutenant Borden
Charles Cane as Capt. Wayne
Pepe Hern as Pachuco


Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Sid Rogell
Screenplay by Fred Niblo, Jr., Harry Essex, based on story by George W. George and Robert Altman (who would become a major director)

Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography Robert De Grasse
Edited by Elmo Williams
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures

Release date: September 2, 1948

Running time: 62 minutes