Shield for Murder ★★★½

This movie will have James Ellroy howling at the moon. Not since the opening of Sam Fuller's The Crimson Kimono have I been so immediately thrown into a noir world, both efficiently and luridly, as in the beginning scenes of Shield for Murder: snub-nose gats, smirks, lies, cop cover-ups, slaps in the kisser, wise-cracks, cold-blooded murder, plus the lascivious eye of a camera languorously uncovering the long sexy man-bait of Marla English in her dressing room; and that's just the first 11 minutes worth of one of the best pulp B noirs in Hollywood's uncouth history. A must-see for aficionados of the deranged and dangerous back streets.

In my personal rating, noteworthy B noirs would be insulted to be given 4 or 5 stars. They play the odds, stay in the shadows, and don't really care what punk cinephiles think one way or the other. It would be like telling a drunk Lawrence Tierney he's been accepted into Yale.