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English   Country: USA   Year: 1950


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Rudolph Mate


Edmund O`Brien; Pamela Britton


Film NoirMysteryThriller


O' Brien plays Frank Bigelow, who finds he has been poisoned and has only a short time to live. Bigelow attempts to find out who poisoned him and why. Black & White.


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User Reviews


(Average=4.33 out of 5; Total Number=15)

An Unusually Cynnical Film Noir (rating=5)

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.

I . T . S . O . K . (rating=5)

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. Rudolph Maté's D.O.A. is a B movie, alright, but a movie you have to possess if you are a movie lover.

Firstly, there is the musical score, signed by his majesty Dimitri Tiomkin. Imagine that, in the middle of D.O.A., Tiomkin and Maté have dared to give to the music an unusual role one would rather find in comic movies. When Edmond O'Brien arrives in San Francisco, he's surrounded by beautiful girls in his hotel's lobby. Everytime he's admiring one of these ladies, the orchestra whistles ! Quite unique in a film noir !

Then, the rythm is suffocating and won't let you breathe at all. Apart of Edmond O'Brien, Neville Brand is outstanding in the role of a psychotic bodyguard.

As bonus features, the Master Movies in my possession, offers a few filmographies and critical articles. No english subtitles. Sound and images are below-average to average, so don't hesitate to check the Image or Roan Group DVD.

A DVD for your library.

Don't Read The Other Reviews About D.O.A. (rating=5)

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. This film combines an unusual plot (with a twist at the beginning), good performances (Edmund O'Brien drips in desperation), a great villain (Neville Brand over the top), real locations (including the Bradbury Building), and other elements which combine to make this authentic film noir.

I've noticed at least two DVD versions of D.O.A. I have the Roan Group version which has an "Introduction by Beverly Garland". She is billed in this film as Beverly Campbell. In this extra, she talks about the movie and her early film career. I have seen another version which says "Introducing Beverly Garland". I don't know if this version has the extra segment.


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 inWhite Heat; an investigator inThe 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 classicBlade Runner.--Sean Axmaker