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A faceless figure marches down an endless hallway as dark, driving music underscores his doom. It's stocky, stalwart Edmond O'Brien, who plows through the police detective's office like he's got nothing to lose. "I want to report a murder," he demands, grim and sleepy-eyed. Who was killed? "I was." It's a brilliant opening to a memorable film noir classic. O'Brien is a CPA who flees his dull job and small California town for a wild weekend in San Francisco, only to be poisoned and doomed to certain death. With only days to live, his incredulity morphs into a searing drive to find his killers and stinging regrets for what might have been. O'Brien is a familiar noir face, but he usually plays figures of authority: a cop in White Heat; an investigator in The Killers. He's a little stiff here, but his blunt, unglamorous persona is perfect for the Everyman who is randomly visited by death. Rudolph Maté, a cinematographer turned director, moves from sun-bright day scenes to busy nighttime locations with few visual flourishes, but when he takes the camera into the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco the film is energized with a gritty, restless vigor. It's one of the most relentlessly dark films noir ever made--taut, edgy, and low budget. Watch for the Bradbury building in the film's climax, made famous by its memorable use decades later in the sci-fi noir classic Blade Runner. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The inspiration for D.O.A. comes from a 1931 german film entitled Der mann, der seinen morder sucht, directed by Robert Siodmak (The dark mirror).
People manipulated by forces they are unable to control and comprenhend; that's a another important component of the film noir's profile.
This film, altogether with Kiss me deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955) are the best exponents in remarking this point, because also establish a crossroad about the unknown consequences derivated from the technology.
Don't miss this weird story; an unvaluable gem and also well done film of Rudolf Mate.
Edmond O' Brien is top-notch.
D.O.A. starts off a little slow, and the fact that a silly musical wolf call greeted the appearance of any woman early on had me doubting the merits of this film, but when things really get going, they really get going. The action and suspense build inexorably with each passing minute of the film, and the background music only reinforces the gripping effect upon the viewer.Read more ›
Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien, you may remember him as Winston Smith in `1984' 1956) realizes after he had a one night fling that he does not feel so good. He feels bad enough to see a doctor. Yep he is D.O.A. (Dead On Arrival) as he has been poisoned and only has a little time left to live.
Obsessed with finding out who did it and why, Frank has to reconstruct his wild night. Will he find out in time? If so what then?
Rudolph Mate's "D.O.A." is a film noir classic. And it takes the cynical view typical of the genre. Frank is a man whose fate is entirely beyond his control. As the audience roots for Frank to solve the mystery and find his murderer, fate unabashedly mocks his efforts. Frank is a dying man; what earthly difference will it make if he finds his killer? Whatever Frank does, the result will be the same. And it's all because he notarized a bill of sale...one out of hundreds of bills of sales. Who knew what being a notary could lead to? But for a movie with such a cynical story to tell, "D.O.A." has always been immensely popular. I think that's because Frank Bigelow is an "everyman" who rises to the occasion when difficult circumstances require it. He's not too smart and not too dumb. He has a nice girlfriend...Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien, you may remember him as Winston Smith in `1984' 1956) realizes after he had a one night fling that he does not feel so good. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2013 by Bernie
I'd love to give this wonderful film full marks(as it deserves),but this DVD release comes up a bit short on the technical and the extras side,as you will see.
D.O.A. Read more
This movie is a clear demonstration of how it's possible to make excellent cinema based on premises frontally opposite to the movies of today. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2004 by Carlos Vazquez Quintana
The reviews earlier than this one (shown below this review) reveal too much of the plot of D.O.A. See the movie first then read the remaining reviews. Read morePublished on May 8 2002
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