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Author Topic: D.O.A. (1949)  (Read 2007 times)
Allhallowsday
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« on: July 24, 2012, 07:31:03 PM »

D.O.A. (1949) 
Starring EDMUND O'BRIEN, PAMELA BRITTON (and BEVERLY GARLAND credited as BEVERLY CAMPBELL), this well-known "film noir" is just terrific!  I had seen most of it before, more than once, but today I got to see the beginning, and it has it's dated and hammy moments (particularly in the acting, typical of its era) but what an unusual and wonderful film!  I watched most of it late this afternoon, and it is stunning!   Aside from its disturbing premise, a poisoned man with very little time to figure out why he was murdered, this movie has some of the most stunning bright daylight NOIR shots I've seen in a Film Noir.  You may see many online comments and reviews about the "dark" aspect of this film (as one would expect with Film Noir) but in fact this important film is unlike any other Noir I've seen.  This one redefines the term: Noir need not be nighttime, but can be whitewashed in urban, abandoned, and industrial settings, shot in scorching white sunlight.  I do like EDMUND O'BRIEN quite a bit anyway, but I think this may be his best performance.   NEVILLE BRAND makes a very early (and first credited) film appearance as the psychopathic and terrifically creepy Chester who can't wait to murder EDMUND O'BRIEN (who's already running out of time).   It's cool. 

Anyone else a fan of this intense, fast paced, and gruesome film? 
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2012, 08:58:53 AM »

D.O.A. (1949)  

Anyone else a fan of this intense, fast paced, and gruesome film? 

Yes---though I haven't seen it in decades, I do remember it as fairly great. I even thought the Dennis Quaid/Meg Ryan remake was OK.
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major jay
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2012, 09:36:42 AM »

I like it a lot.
Like you said, there are a few scenes where O'Brien does some cringe worthy overacting, but mostly he's spot on. The shots of San Francisco are great, and I love the jazz club scene with the hipster crowd. Thumbup
I also noticed Jerry Paris, from the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, playing a bellboy.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 09:43:31 AM by major jay » Logged

alandhopewell
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2012, 01:28:30 PM »

     I recently obtained a DVD copy for a buck, and thoroughly enjoyed it again.

BTW, there's an Austrailian version, from 1969, IMS, called COLOR ME DEAD. Not too bad.

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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2012, 02:09:55 PM »

     I recently obtained a DVD copy for a buck, and thoroughly enjoyed it again.
D.O.A. is in the public domain, so apparently there are several versions available.  I'd buy that for a dollar! 

BTW, there's an Austrailian version, from 1969, IMS, called COLOR ME DEAD. Not too bad...
I have not seen COLOR ME DEAD, but I am aware of it. 
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The Burgomaster
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012, 02:24:07 PM »

I wouldn't say I'm a hardcore fan, but I do enjoy watching this movie from time-to-time.  I have it in a Mill Creek 50 Movie Pack, so it's at my fingertips every day.
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2012, 07:55:01 PM »

Haven't seen it now in many years but recall really enjoying it. Actually first caught the remake back when I was sick from school as a teenager and that lead me to check out the original which was far superior. I'm overdue for rewatching this one.
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 05:24:18 AM »

I own it on a double bill dvd with another terrific noir-KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952) which has John Payne,Lee Van Cleef,Jack Elam-and-yup-Neville Brand! Tarintino's RESIVOIR DOGS owes a lot to this film-

 
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2012, 12:01:41 PM »

Near the beginning, we see Halliday in the San Francisco bar only from the back.  He's wearing a hat, overcoat, and memorable scarf.  This of course is done on purpose because he's wearing the same hat, coat and scarf at the end when the louse gets his.  It does not, however, make any sense.  There is a heatwave and the characters throughout the 24 hours of the story refer to "the heat".   Perhaps Halliday really is cold-blooded. 
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2012, 04:09:02 PM »

Ye-es! Having seen it . . .

It is well done and well worth seeing (IMHO), with one of the best performances by the underrated Edmond O'Brien, but . . .

If you do see it, you might want to see it more than once, or read a synopsis or a review with spoilers, after you see it, as . . .

It is one of the few movies that I have seen, where I am still not sure what happened by the end of it.

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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2012, 08:31:41 PM »

Ye-es! Having seen it . . .
It is well done and well worth seeing (IMHO), with one of the best performances by the underrated Edmond O'Brien, but . . .
If you do see it, you might want to see it more than once, or read a synopsis or a review with spoilers, after you see it, as . . .
It is one of the few movies that I have seen, where I am still not sure what happened by the end of it.

The whole movie is available on YouTube: 

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major jay
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2012, 06:43:08 PM »

The relationship between O'Brien and Paula is interesting too.
Holy Crap! They're engaged and he's going off to San Francisco to get some strange.
Nice work if you can get it.
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 04:40:02 PM »

Rewatched it again recently and still very much liked it but did find the jazzy score a bit much at times although it does add a great deal to the atmosphere within the Fisherman nightclub. It's interesting in that the lead isn't truly completely likable at the start..in fact he seems to be on the make for other women although he eventually comes to realize the value of what he already has...or had now it's too late. In some ways it feels oddly dated, in others it seems much ahead of its time. The bringing together of several divergent characters and explaining how they all relate to each other is common nowadays but when this was made it seemed less so although the main focus here rarely leaves our lead.
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2015, 12:54:18 PM »

Just watched this again on TCM and while I love the movie (especially the cinematography) the plot always ends up confusing the hell out of me. I even read this plot summary and still couldn't quite figure it all out. I know I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but DAMN! I'm wondering what you guys think. Is it just me?

Quote
A man marches into a police station and reports a murder to the homicide detectives--his own.

Flashback:
Small-town accountant Frank Bigelow visits San Francisco to escape from his girlfriend/assistant, Paula Gibson, who's scaring him with her marriage talk. He goes out with some fellow hotel guests for drinks. Unknown to him, a mysterious stranger switches his drink. The next day, a very sick Frank visits the doctor and finds out he's been fatally poisoned with a luminous toxin and has a day or a week to live.

Paula tells Frank that a man named Eugene Philips had urgently tried to call him the previous day and when she called him back, she learned he'd died. Convinced it's a clue, Frank flies to Los Angeles and learns from Eugene's colleague Halliday that Eugene had committed suicide. Neither Halliday nor Mrs. Philips know why Eugene had tried to contact Frank. Eugene's brother Stanley tells Frank that Eugene was out on bail after being arrested for selling stolen iridium to a dealer named Majak.

Paula tells Frank that she checked their records and found out that Frank had notarized a bill of sale for an iridium shipment from one George Reynolds to Eugene Philips. Frank tells Mrs. Philips this. She says that Reynolds had gone missing and Eugene had been looking for him for the proof that would have cleared him and prevented his suicide.

Frank visits Eugene's company and roughs up the secretary, Miss Foster, for no real reason. Foster tells Frank that Eugene had finally located his missing mistress Marla Rakubian and visited her the day of his death. Frank finds Marla packing her bags. She pulls a gun on him but he seizes it and her photo of George Reynolds.

Frank learns from the photo studio that the photo isn't of George Reynolds, but Raymond Rakubian. Someone tries to shoot Frank. He escapes, but not for long. Majak's henchmen kidnap Frank and bring him to Majak and Marla. Frank learns that the Rakubians duped Eugene into buying stolen goods and Majak bought them back. Majak tells Frank that Raymond died months ago. And now that Frank knows of Majak's scam, he must die too.

Frank escapes from Majak's sadistic thug Chester. Chester is shot dead by a cop on patrol. Frank returns to his hotel where he finds Paula waiting. He tells her nothing except his love for her.

Frank breaks into Foster's apartment. What is it with him and that woman? He accuses her and Stanley of plotting to kill him. But Stanley accuses Eugene's widow. Foster found a love letter from Halliday to Mrs. Philips among Eugene's things. Stanley is sick and when Frank learns Stanley just came from dinner with Mrs. Philips and Halliday, he sends Stanley to the hospital for suspected luminous poisoning.

Frank threatens to throw Mrs. Philips off her high-rise balcony. She confesses that Eugene had found out about the affair yesterday and got into a fight with Halliday, who'd pushed him to his death. Halliday poisoned Frank because Frank notarized evidence that would have shown that Eugene had no reason to kill himself.

Frank sees Majak and his thugs coming after him. He escapes them and tracks down Halliday at his office. In the shoot-out, Frank kills Halliday.
Flashback ends.

Frank finishes telling his story to the detectives and gasps, "Paula." He drops dead.
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2015, 02:12:56 PM »

Just watched this again on TCM and while I love the movie (especially the cinematography) the plot always ends up confusing the hell out of me. I even read this plot summary and still couldn't quite figure it all out. I know I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but DAMN! I'm wondering what you guys think. Is it just me?

Quote
A man marches into a police station and reports a murder to the homicide detectives--his own.

Flashback:
Small-town accountant Frank Bigelow visits San Francisco to escape from his girlfriend/assistant, Paula Gibson, who's scaring him with her marriage talk. He goes out with some fellow hotel guests for drinks. Unknown to him, a mysterious stranger switches his drink. The next day, a very sick Frank visits the doctor and finds out he's been fatally poisoned with a luminous toxin and has a day or a week to live.

Paula tells Frank that a man named Eugene Philips had urgently tried to call him the previous day and when she called him back, she learned he'd died. Convinced it's a clue, Frank flies to Los Angeles and learns from Eugene's colleague Halliday that Eugene had committed suicide. Neither Halliday nor Mrs. Philips know why Eugene had tried to contact Frank. Eugene's brother Stanley tells Frank that Eugene was out on bail after being arrested for selling stolen iridium to a dealer named Majak.

Paula tells Frank that she checked their records and found out that Frank had notarized a bill of sale for an iridium shipment from one George Reynolds to Eugene Philips. Frank tells Mrs. Philips this. She says that Reynolds had gone missing and Eugene had been looking for him for the proof that would have cleared him and prevented his suicide.

Frank visits Eugene's company and roughs up the secretary, Miss Foster, for no real reason. Foster tells Frank that Eugene had finally located his missing mistress Marla Rakubian and visited her the day of his death. Frank finds Marla packing her bags. She pulls a gun on him but he seizes it and her photo of George Reynolds.

Frank learns from the photo studio that the photo isn't of George Reynolds, but Raymond Rakubian. Someone tries to shoot Frank. He escapes, but not for long. Majak's henchmen kidnap Frank and bring him to Majak and Marla. Frank learns that the Rakubians duped Eugene into buying stolen goods and Majak bought them back. Majak tells Frank that Raymond died months ago. And now that Frank knows of Majak's scam, he must die too.

Frank escapes from Majak's sadistic thug Chester. Chester is shot dead by a cop on patrol. Frank returns to his hotel where he finds Paula waiting. He tells her nothing except his love for her.

Frank breaks into Foster's apartment. What is it with him and that woman? He accuses her and Stanley of plotting to kill him. But Stanley accuses Eugene's widow. Foster found a love letter from Halliday to Mrs. Philips among Eugene's things. Stanley is sick and when Frank learns Stanley just came from dinner with Mrs. Philips and Halliday, he sends Stanley to the hospital for suspected luminous poisoning.

Frank threatens to throw Mrs. Philips off her high-rise balcony. She confesses that Eugene had found out about the affair yesterday and got into a fight with Halliday, who'd pushed him to his death. Halliday poisoned Frank because Frank notarized evidence that would have shown that Eugene had no reason to kill himself.

Frank sees Majak and his thugs coming after him. He escapes them and tracks down Halliday at his office. In the shoot-out, Frank kills Halliday.
Flashback ends.

Frank finishes telling his story to the detectives and gasps, "Paula." He drops dead.

It's very confusing when you watch it, true, but you get the general drift and everything eventually adds up. Sometimes very complicated plots like that don't fit well into 90 minutes, but I think this one works. It's not necessary to follow every little detail.

P.S. If this one bothers you do not try to watch INHERENT VICE! You have to be willing to go into that one knowing that you cannot follow the plot, by design.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 02:14:57 PM by Rev. Powell » Logged

"The basic plot is that Donna Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, the two undercover DEA agent Playboy Playmates from the last movie, are still running around in jungle shorts, cowboy boots and spaghetti strap T-shirts, firing their machine guns at drug smugglers, Filipino communist guerrillas, and corrupt federal agents while their two friends, Lisa London and Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek, lounge around the pool a lot and talk on speaker phones that look like fax machines."-Joe Bob on SAVAGE BEACH
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