Tuesday, May 22, 2018

No Questions Asked

Several weeks ago, TCM's Noir Alley ran a movie that was new to me: No Questions Asked. It's available on DVD courtesy of the Warner Archive, so I finally got around to watching it to do a post on it here.

Barry Sullivan plays Steve Keiver, who at the beginning of the movie is running from both the police and some underworld types. Flash back to how he got into this situation.... Some time back Steve was a lawyer for an insurance company, handling the legal niceties of paying out claims. The latest claim is on a bunch of furs that were stolen, and Steve's boss Henry Manston (Moroni Olsen) is none too pleased about having to pay out on the claim. Indeed, he says he'd be willing to pay, no questions asked, to get the furs back. This gives Steve an idea....

Steve's fiancée Ellen (Arlene Dahl) is sick and tired of Steve's lack of advancement. She wants some of the better things in life, and feels she can't get them on an insurance lawyer's income, which is why Steve is trying to get a raise. But what Steve doesn't know is that Ellen has already gotten married -- way to break off the engagment, baby, and wait until Steve finds out! Anyhow, Steve, in an attempt to make more money, decides he'll arrange to be a go-between for the return of those furs. He and Henry are able to recover the furs, but there's a cost.

Steve decides to become a go-between full time (there's a brilliant idea), which unsurprisingly leads to a sudden crime wave, which the police, in the form of Inspector Duggan (George Murphy) and Detective O'Bannion (Richard Anderson) don't like. They're looking to nail Steve, and when the next heist hits they plan to stop everybody who talks to Steve.

That heist occurs in the ladies' powder room during the intermission of a stage play. Two women come into the powder room and hold everybody up. However, when I was watching, one of the women sounded suspiciously like a man in falsetto, and I had read before watching the movie that it had a twist, so I figured the twist was that it was Ellen and her husband doing the heist. It turns out that that is not the case, although Ellen and her husband are in town, with Ellen claiming she still loves Steve and only married her husband for his money. Meanwhile, the attempt to get the ladies' jewelry back is hitting quite the snag....

I personally found No Questions Asked to be well-enough made, although it's also one of those movies that I don't think will stand out to me as being a particularly memorable part of the noir cycle. It's not that it's bad by any means, just that it's serviceable and not a whole lot more. Fans of noir who haven't seen it will certainly like it, while if I were introducing noir to people who had never seen a noir movie, I'd start with something else.

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