Review: No Questions Asked

No Questions Asked is a classic film noir from 1951 directed by Harold F. Kress. Kress never really made it as a director, but went on to edit some classic Hollywood films. This has a story from Berne Giler and a screenplay from Sidney Sheldon, both had long careers as writers in Hollywood.

Our story starts out with Barry Sullivan playing Steve Keiver, an insurance investigator. He is in love with Ellen, played by Arlene Dahl. Ellen is a bit of a gold digger and wants to marry somebody with money. She soon disappears to go marry a rich man with no warning to our hero. Keiver buries himself in his work and becomes very successful. He works connections in the underworld to recover stolen property for his company. He soon finds the eye of Joan, played by Jean Hagen. She is madly in love with Keiver, but Keiver still has feelings for his old flame Ellen. When Keiver and Joan are at a fancy party it is robbed. This part is pretty interesting as the theft was performed by men in drag. They fool all of those they rob by gun point, and puts the police on the trail of “two attractive females,” instead of two males. This brings in Police Inspector Matt Duggan, played by George Murphy and Detective Walter O’Bannion played by Richard Anderson into the investigation. Our hero works both sides of the law to recover the million dollars worth of jewelry stolen at the party. Will he be able to work his usual magic to get the job done? Will he be double crossed or even framed? What girl will eventually win his heart? Who can he trust?

This film noir is a bit of a hidden gem! It has a great plot with some good acting. I thought this was a sold film worth your time. The gangsters are unique and the heist men who are cross dressers had to be a bit risqué for 1951. Especially since these cross dressers are not comic relief, but actually fool the characters in the film and I think they would have fooled most of the movie going public.

Review: A Cry in the Night

A Cry in the Night is a film noir from 1956 directed by Frank Tuttle. The three stars are:

Edmond O’Brien playing a detective and father

Natalie Wood playing O’Brien’s daughter

though the poster says the third star is Brian Donlevy, playing the detective in charge of the case, the real third star of this film is Raymond Burr playing a psychopath.

This story starts out with Wood and her boyfriend, played by Richard Anderson, up at “Lover’s Loop” parked in his car. They are discussing their future together when the boyfriend notices a man in the trees watching them. He goes to investigate and a scuffle ensues. Burr hits the boyfriend with his lunch box. The boyfriend goes down and Wood comes over to see how he is doing. She thinks he is dead and Burr carries her away and steals the car. When the police find the boyfriend, they think he is drunk and throw him in the tank. A doctor at the police headquarters discovers him and brings him into Donlevy’s office to tell his story. When Donlevy finds out Wood is the girl kidnapped, he goes to O’Brien’s house to inform him of the situation. This scene is interesting as O’Brien plays a fun-loving husband and father, drinking a beer and talking to his wife. When he is informed of his daughter’s kidnapping, he instantly turns into a hard-boiled detective.

The story takes place over the course of one night with a pretty straight forward plot. Burr is a pretty interesting character here as a mentally disturbed man who lives with his overbearing mother. Natalie Wood also stands out playing a teenager in trouble, but in the 1950’s she may have been the best at that.

This is a very good film noir worth checking out. It is a hidden gem and if you are a film noir fan you will find it very entertaining.

Favorite Tidbit: This film was from Jaguar Productions, a small movie production company that only lasted a few years. It was established by Alan Ladd. You can hear his voice in the beginning of the film in an uncredited voice over.