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D.O.A.

Edmond O'Brien , Pamela Britton , Rudolph Maté    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.95
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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

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D.O.A. Sept. 13 2004
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
As Socrates once said "I drank what?"

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?
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5.0 out of 5 stars As Socrates once said "I drank what?" Nov. 25 2013
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
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?

D.O.A. ~ Dennis Quaid
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unusually cynnical film noir May 10 2004
Format:DVD
The concept of a murder victim who functions as his own detective, gives to D.O.A. a unique point of view and also gives it a major status.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars based in false facts but superb Jan. 12 2004
Format:VHS Tape
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. We will see the protagonist to react as a madman when he finds out that someone has poisoned him with an terrible, fluorescent, imaginary toxin. Also I doubt very much that can be real the attitude of the physicians dealing with such a case in saying crudely to the patient that he has only a few hours of life, and I don't dare to enter in ethical considerations. This movie doesn't admit microscopic vision.
And nevertheless and against all these, the spectator follows this unreal plot and remains magnetized by the movie. How is this possible? The response only can be one: an enormous amount of talent. Let's rest in peace the unfortunate DOA, he has deserved it after 90 minutes of a nightmare that we do not understand but fascinates us. Today, with all the special effects and computers of the world the same results aren't reached.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Forces Beyond Our Control. Oct. 13 2003
Format:DVD
A man named Frank Bigelow (Edmund O'Brian) shows up at Los Angeles police station to report a murder: his own. Frank is dying of luminous toxin poisoning. He recounts to police the incredible story that brought him to be at the brink of death in this police station in a strange city. Just a few days ago, he was a small business owner in a little town called Banning. He had an adoring girlfriend, Paula Gibson (Pamela Britton), who was also his personal secretary. But Frank had cold feet about marrying Paula and decided to take a little vacation to San Francisco to give himself some air. Paula called to tell him that a man named Phillips was desperately trying to reach him, but the name didn't ring a bell. The next day, Frank found out that he had been fatally and irreversibly poisoned. Frank's increasingly frantic search for the identity and motivation of his murderer takes him to two cities, into the criminal underworld, and onto the wrong end of several pistols before all is done.
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...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A film noire classic in every sense of the word Sept. 26 2003
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
1950's D.O.A. is classic film noire, one of the true classics of the genre. The characters are intense, everyone is up to something, and the clock is ticking for one Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien), who must attempt to find his own murderer before his last grain of sand trickles to the bottom of the hourglass. Bigelow is an accountant who up and takes a week off to visit San Francisco, ostensibly to get away from his secretary and incredibly needy, codependent, marathon-talking girlfriend Paula (Pamela Britton). Once he arrives at the hotel, he's like an elephant in a peanut factory, trying to go every direction at once in order to have a good time with every woman he sees. While the neurotic Paula broods, Bigelow goes out to paint the town red with a gang of his hotel neighbors, only to wake up the next morning feeling less than healthy. A trip to the doctor's office instantly changes his entire perspective on life, for he finds out that he has been poisoned with a luminous toxin, for which there is no cure whatsoever. With anywhere from a day to two weeks to live, he starts off on a relentless quest to discover his murderer. The plot takes a number of twists and turns, and it can get a little confusing at times because of all the characters and all the shenanigans each of them are pulling. Bigelow has nothing to lose, though, and he refuses to give up as long as he has a breath in his body.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Film Noir Without Peer!
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
Published on Feb. 21 2009 by Robert Badgley
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't read the other reviews about D.O.A.
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 more
Published on May 8 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars One OF The best Film Noir's Ever Made!
D.O.A. starts off with one hell of a bang a hulky and overwhelmed Edmund O'Brien musters his way into a ploice station. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2001 by A*
5.0 out of 5 stars D.O.A.
D.O.A. is quintessential 1950's film noir (though it was shot in 1949) and in my opinion the best of the genre. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2001 by Rix Roundtree-Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars I . T . S . O . K .
Why does this movie, in my opinion, deserves five stars ? Because, if you're a film noir fan, you cannot be but astonished by the treatment of the subject. Read more
Published on June 11 2000 by Daniel S.
3.0 out of 5 stars A Strong Three Stars
A classic example of 'Film Noir'; a movie where a poisoned man searches for his killer. Contains the immortal line, "I'm sorry Mister Bigelow -- but you've been... Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2000 by FilmFool
4.0 out of 5 stars inventive murder mystery with great plot twist
If you obsess so much over the "funny clothes" that people wear in old movies that you can't follow the plot, this film is not for you. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 1999
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