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20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

No Questions About This One

Author: mackjay from Out there in the dark
16 January 2003

NO QUESTIONS ASKED is a fine, lesser film noir from the transitional period when dark visuals were still present, but were gradually being edged out in favor of well-lit sound stages. The opening is emblematic of noir, like a pulp novel come to life, and it leads immediately to a flashback. It is true the film as a whole does not live up to the corker opening, however it is far from being a letdown. For one thing, Harold F. Kress moves things along quickly, like a good B-movie director should. The picture wastes no time, and essentially telescopes the romantic interludes. In other words, it's mainly an action picture. And the action is often set in atmospherically interesting places: a sleazy night-spot that feels like a real place, a low-rent dancing school caught in mid-rehearsal, a sinister, dimly-lit indoor swimming pool, and more.

Barry Sullivan, Arlene Dahl, George Murphy are just fine, if not impressive. The real acting standout is Jean Hagen, a performer seemingly incapable of giving less than a superb performance. Hagen enacts her character as though she were in one of MGM's A-films.

Apart from Hagen, there are several worthwhile figures in the supporting roles. Moroni Olsen (the DA from MILDRED PIERCE), charming Richard Anderson as Lt. O'Bannion, Madge Blake (Mrs. Mondello from 'Leave it to Beaver'), Robert Osterloh, Mari Blanchard and the rest. Most fascinating of all is William Reynolds as the impossibly handsome thug/dancer Floyd. Reynolds (20 years old here) would later develop into a good actor with a career largely in television.

Recommended to all noir aficionados

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

small noir from 1951

6/10
Author: blanche-2 from United States
10 September 2009

Barry Sullivan retrieves stolen goods for a fee in "No Questions Asked," a 1951 B noir also starring George Murphy, Arlene Dahl and Jean Hagen. Sullivan is Steve Kiever, an attorney for an insurance company. He's impossibly in love with the beautiful, gold-digging Ellen (Dahl), who dumps him early on by getting married and forgetting to mention it. After recovering stolen furs for the insurance company and making extra money, he goes into business for himself. Soon there's a city-wide crime wave, with the thieves collecting good money on the stolen goods without being caught trying to sell the stuff and with no one learning their names. The police, led by George Murphpy, are furious with him. Kiever becomes wealthy and has gone back to an old girlfriend from his office, Joan (Hagen) when he sees Ellen again. The old hunger returns - though, as Hagen is aware, it had never left.

This is a pretty good film, very noirish with his sleazy locations and nighttime drama. There are some good scenes, though I have to admit that I saw through the gimmick used for the robbery and couldn't figure out why no one else who was robbed did. Two future TV stars, Richard Anderson and William Reynolds, have roles in the film, as well as old-timers like Murphy and Moroni Olsen.

Enjoyable.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Noirish look at insurance scams marred by indifferent acting

6/10
Author: bmacv from Western New York
14 February 2001

No Questions Asked takes us down the primrose path followed by ambitious insurance agent Barry Sullivan (but all quality comparisons to Double Indemnity end there). He links up with mobsters who guarantee the return of stolen goods in exchange for a payoff consisting of a percent of their insured value -- and the insurance company acquiesces in this bottom-line trimming. (Sullivan's fiancee, Arlene Dahl, aspires to a higher standard of living.) Soon he's raking in big bucks, to the chagrin of his former co-worker Jean Hagen, who carries a torch for him. There are some good scenes (including a heist in a theater's ladies' lounge by two torpedoes in drag as society dames) and plot twists; some of the cinematography is not bad, either, though it's pretty cliched noir. The worst part of this movie, however, is the generic acting from all involved, except for that of Jean Hagen -- Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain -- and a couple of the bit players. Still, it's worth a first look, if not a second viewing.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Finder's Fee Turns Into Racket

7/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
9 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No Questions Asked finds Barry Sullivan as a lawyer for an insurance company with some heavy duty money problems. He's got a high maintenance Arlene Dahl whom he's looking to marry. On his own and after a few tries he makes a deal with some gangsters to return some stolen furs, No Questions Asked, for which Sullivan gets a finder's fee.

Dahl still gives Sullivan the heave ho and trades up to marry the richer Richard Simmons (that's not the exercise guru). While drowning his sorrows, Sullivan realizes one could make a good living at this and in fact it's legitimate. And the crook's realize they can steal hard to fence items, as long as they can sell it back to the owners through Sullivan. And the beauty for Sullivan is that his end is completely legitimate. Sweet.

Naturally this is all going to blow up in our hero/protagonist's face and police inspector George Murphy will be around to collect the pieces. It's how it all blows up that's the real interest in No Questions Asked. Sullivan also has good girl Jean Hagen from his office with a yen for him. But he can't shake his yen for Dahl.

No Questions Asked is a nicely paced caper/noir film with a lot of high gloss productions values not normally associated with noir. Of course coming from MGM it wouldn't be anything else. Dahl gives one of her best screen performances as the ice princess of Sullivan's dreams.

This one is worth catching if TCM runs it.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Respectable Noir

6/10
Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
27 September 2009

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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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

pretty good noir from the early fifties

8/10
Author: ksf-2 from southwest US
10 September 2009

Arlene Dahl is "Ellen" in this flick from the 1950s. The opening scene is our narrator running from the police, but within 10 seconds we flash back to what brought us to that point. In the flashback, she is met at the airport by a lawyer-friend "Steve" (Barry Sullivan). Steve is also on a first name basis with Harry, the taxi driver. Harry takes him around to visit all the thugs in town so he can be the go-between in a shady transaction. All of a sudden, his girl is gone, and Steve is in business getting more and more stolen goods back for clients....for a price. The police are watching him, and he'd better watch his step....Jean Hagen is "Joan", Steve's new girl. ( Hagen had been in Singing in the Rain, and Dead Ringer with Bette Davis.) No real big names in this one, but it's a pretty good story. Directed by Harold Kress, who had won two Oscars for EDITING How the West was Won and Towering Inferno. He was nominated for editing SIX times, and won two of those times. Oddly, this was one of the five films KRESS ever directed. Pretty good movie - i'm surprised that this one isn't on more often, but I guess it's because they used lesser known actors of the time.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Plays real good, like a noir should

7/10
Author: heathentart
9 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've always liked Barry Sullivan's work, but never saw him in a dark, noir role like his Steve Kiever, man on the run.

The films has a lot of the noir standards: dark environs, some nasty losers, and the set-up, murder and finally the solution.

Kiever is an insurance agent who gets deep into a twisted scam of mobsters, insurance companies, and cops. The plot is fairly simple -crooks stealing insured jewels, then working with Kiever to return them to the insurance company for payment. Ya see, the insurance guys pay less than the insurance claim would have paid. So the jewels are returned, the mobsters make more than they would using a fence, the insurance company goes along - "No Questions Asked." Everything is fine, Kiever has a super girlfriend in the form of gorgeous Arlene Dahl, he's making money hand over fist - And then there's a murder.

This is a good movie which I enjoyed greatly. I have a personal interest because the film was made in the year of my birth, and I've always been interested in what things were like then.

"No Questions Asked" is a nice way to spend a coupla hours. A cold drink, some popcorn, turn the lights down and settle into the couch. Life is good. :)

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

good noir

Author: johnwinkler (johnwinkler@rcn.com)
31 October 2001

A terrific classic noir opening - man on the run in a city of night, his voiceover, leading to flashback - but eventually disappointing. Barry Sullivan is excellent as the protagonist. If it had kept the courage of its opening, it could have been one of the great ones.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Arlene Dahl isn't as nice this time

8/10
Author: RanchoTuVu from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
29 March 2010

An insurance claims adjuster (Barry Sullivan) finds he can make a lot more money if he deals with the crooks who are robbing and stealing valuable jewelry and furs. The insurance company that he works for is actually abetting crime in order to retrieve the stolen goods and minimize their losses, thus upsetting the police who would prefer to not reward the crooks who are now even more motivated to pull off daring heists, as they now are guaranteed hefty payments for the stolen goods. This film has some interesting elements and a couple of memorable scenes, a couple of which take place in a swimming pool and one in which the assembled wealthy patrons at an opening night theater debut are robbed while they're all in the powder room between acts. At the root of Sullivan's actions is the woman who dumped him, played by Arlene Dahl. She usually plays sympathetic parts, but here her character has a solid place on the memorable list of film noir bad girls. For a film directed by someone known for editing, this is surprisingly good, with a tough ending.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Show Me The Money!

7/10
Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA
28 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***SPOILERS*** We already see at the start of the movie that former insurance company lawyer, and now fencer for the underworld, Steve Keiver, Barry Sullivan, is in a heap of trouble with him running for his life from the law. Reflecting just what got him into this sorry mess Keiver goes into a long flashback to happier times when he was just a working slob making an honest living at the insurance company that he once worked for.

It was the girl of his dreams pretty Ellen Sayburn payed by former 1946 Miss Rheingold Beer Arlene Dhal who got Keiver into the bind that he finds himself in now. It was the greedy and never satisfied with her situation in life Ellen who really got Keiver started on the road to destruction as well as a trip to the Sing Sing electric chair! That's if the mob doesn't get him first. That's by Ellen wanting him, by hook or by crook, to make something of himself in the world of high finance. Telling Keiver to get ahead in life, if being a hard working and honest man wasn't good enough for her, he followed Ellen's advice asking his boss Henry Manston, Moroni Olsen, for a raise since he's expecting to marry Ellen and raise a family with her. Not getting a raise even though Manston said he so rightfully deserved it Keiver found out that Manston was secretly working with the mob not actively but in paying it off to get stolen goods back that his insurance company was libel for!

It's later when Keiver found out that his soon to be happily married bride Ellen had secretly dumped him for the rich and well connected Gordon Jassman, Dick Simmons, that he felt that not only was he made to look like a love-sick fool by Ellen but that his life as an honest as the days long lawyer made him unavailable to a gold digging women like her by having Ellen leave him for another, and much richer, man!

Seeing from his boss Mr. Manston just how profitable it is to be a fence-man for the mob Keiver decided to go solo as a fence-man himself. In no time at all Keiver using his friend and taxi driver Harry Dycker, Danny Daton, to get him business was "The Man" whom the mob dealt with in exchanging stolen furs jewelry as well as truckloads of expensive wine & booze for cash which Keiver got as much as a 20% commission for.

With him just being the middleman and not having anything to do with the robbery of the goods that he negotiated for Keiver was within he law with the cops not being able to lay a glove, or handcuffs, on him. It's when Ellen came back into his life together with her crook of a husband Gordon that things started to turn sour for Keiver! So sour that he ended up not only become a target for the mobsters that he worked for but the law in being implicated in the murder of a police officer Det. O'Bannion, Richard Anderson. It was Det. O'Bannion whom Keiver, in an effort to go straight, was about to turn evidence over to against his gangster boss the future, or so he wished, Olympic underwater swimming-he could hold his breath for almost five minutes- gold medalist Franko, Howard Petrie.

***SPOILERS*** We get back to the present, after the long flashback, with Keiver on the run from both the law and the mob as he's brought back to his boss Franko to face the music in a $850,000.00 stolen jewelry heist he was supposed to have fenced for him. It's then when all hell breaks loose with Kiver realizing that he's been set up, by guess who, in him being both implicated in the re-stolen-from Franko- stolen jewelry as well as the murder of Det. O'Bannion with not a shred of evidence on his part to prove it!

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