6.5/10
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13 user 3 critic

No Questions Asked (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 15 June 1951 (USA)
Steve Keiver, young lawyer working for an insurance company, hears his boss remark that he'd pay a large sum "no questions asked" for return of stolen property to avoid paying a much larger... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ellen Sayburn Jessman
...
Police Inspector Matt Duggan
...
...
...
Henry Manston
...
Harry Dycker (as Dan Dayton)
...
Gordon N. Jessman
...
Franko
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Roger
...
Floyd (as William Regnolds)
...
Marty Callbert
...
Natalie
Robert Sheppard ...
Detective Eddie
Michael Dugan ...
Detective Howard
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Storyline

Steve Keiver, young lawyer working for an insurance company, hears his boss remark that he'd pay a large sum "no questions asked" for return of stolen property to avoid paying a much larger claim. On his own initiative, Steve arranges such a deal, earning a nice commission. But he catches the eye of gangsters who think he's the ideal middleman for future similar deals...many of them. As Steve is drawn in deeper, the police take an interest in him, and he's ripe for a doublecross. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Plot Keywords:

police | thug | missing loot | See All (3) »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

15 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Discrétion assurée  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

THE ROYAL ORDER OF CIVIC BOOSTERS
Music by Alberto Colombo, lyrics by Alberto Colombo and Sidney Sheldon
Sung by chorus of conventioneers
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User Reviews

Respectable Noir
27 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

No need to repeat the plot, which is a good, unpredictable one. This MGM noir is better than most of the studio's compromised crime dramas of the Dore Schary period. Director Kress keeps things moving, while scripter Sidney Sheldon manages a few neat twists, along with a stunningly gorgeous Arlene Dahl who's enough to make any man lose his head, plus the always soulful Jean Hagen. It's certainly a very watchable 80 minutes; however, I am wondering why it's not more memorable than I think it is. Kress has a good sense of pacing, but what the movie lacks is at least one, strongly memorable scene. In my book two come close. The stickup in the ladies room is really novel. The violent threat of "women" on women presents a genuine departure from convention and real possibilities for something memorable. It is a good scene, but ultimately nothing more than an unusual robbery sequence. The other promising episode is the showdown in the pool, a neat payoff for an earlier underwater scene with gangster Franko (Petrie). However, despite what looks like a lethal encounter, the aftermath turns into just one more conventional close call.

In a more general sense, the movie does contain a number of violent scenes. Yet all are staged rather impersonally, thereby eliminating one of the hallmarks of front-rank noir— that is, the "reality of violence" as one acute observer termed it. Anthony Mann's noirs (e.g. T-Men {1947}; Border Incident {1949}) are especially effective in making the audience not just see the violence, but more importantly, in making us feel its reality in a visceral way. Also important is the reality of evil (non-theological), whether it's corruption (e.g. Phenix City Story {1955}) or brutality (e.g. The Enforcer {1951}). The presence of evil is usually, I think, a matter of atmospherics and acting. Unfortunately, not only is there no sense of evil in the film, there's hardly even a sense of wrong-doing, especially from the rather genial chief gangster Franko who should be the main source. Now, Kress does a good workman- like job filming an imaginative script that keeps us interested and entertained. But ultimately he doesn't manage that extra dimension of making us feel a part of what's happening. As a result, the movie fails to rise above the level of respectable noir, yet that's certainly more than enough for a slow evening.


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