- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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The original and best version of the film noir. O' Brien is the victim of a slow-acting poison and has a few hours to find out who killed him and why; weak supporting work from the cast. The story is gripping and knows how to hold viewers attention. A good, entertaining film noir. I give it a 4/5.
A terrific film noir you'll never forget
I saw DOA on TV when I was a very young child and never forgot the gripping plot about a doomed man who tracked down his killers and avenged his own death. What a treat it was to watch this movie again as an adult fifty years later. If anything, I enjoyed the movie even more this time around. The familiar scenes of old San Francisco and Los Angeles; the snappy, wisecracking dialog; the glimpse into a dark but simpler time that is no more. This movie is one of the best and should be considered a must-see classic, a TCM essential.
I saw this film when I lived on La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles when I was a kid. The scenes in L.A. in this film (just seen for the first time in years on TCM) bring such a sad nostalgia back. Even then, when I was a boy, I thought this was a special film. With all of the "sophistication" that has gone on since 1950, there are still scenes that hold up: the stopping of Neville Brand in that horrific night drug store scene, the chasing of Frank Bigelow by Majac and his henchmen in a convertible while Bigelow (Edmund O'Brien) tries to escape by bus, the very believable Luther Adler, the great music by Dimitri Tiomkin, and on and on. There are those that say that O'Brien was wrong for the part, but his panic when he first finds out he's been poisoned is VERY genuine and believable. And being a sentimental type guy, I even think some of the corny stuff with Pamela Britton works as a soft foil to the ugly, serious quest that O'Brien was on. (This "corny stuff" is the only stuff that seems "dated" in the film now.)Also: this is one of the most tight and gripping premises for a movie ever: you find out you've been "murdered," and you have to desperately find your killer before you die. Highly original, and one of a kind. There is lots of fine casting in the film, including a guy little mentioned in some of these "amateur" reviews: the police homicide detective who interviews Bigelow. When he proclaims, at the end of the film, "Better mark it, 'Dead on Arrival,' " you believe it. As I said, I first saw this movie when I was a kid, and I got in a real way then when it's down and dirty, and you know you're on your way out, everything becomes clear about what's really important.
Some of the details of 1950 culture in the location shots may be nostalgic. Every scene is compelling with a low-budget serial spontaneity. No coincidence the director was DP on Lady From Shanghai and Gilda. The myriad female characters are all interesting, and in the end, this is a love story.
- James Higgins
A very original and fascinating story - the first scene of the film is a classic. It's tense and exciting, wonderfully acted by Edmond O'Brien. Remade with Dennis Quaid and it's not up to this classic. Great pace.
A Solid Noir, Jack - I Mean, Solid!
- Steve S.
Edmond O'Brien gives a solid and convincing performance as the ill-fated Frank Bigelow - a man who doesn't have much time to solve a murder - his own!Mate's direction and Tiomkin's music score accentuate this point with fine detail.
Films were meant to entertain
- Jack The Hat
Most movie goers enter a theatre to be entertained--well this film succeeds in doing that. If you have never seen this film and have a chance to do so--do so. Great entertainment!!!
They done me wrong
Edmond O'Brien, who later would win awards for his performances in "The Barefoot Contessa" and "Seven days in May" gave an outstanding performance as a man who was poisoned and spent his remaining time trying to find out who did it and why. Turns out it was just one of those unfortunate deals of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he is dead anyway.Pamela britton, who would find later acclaim as Blondie and a regular on "My Favorite Martin" gave a passionate performance as his ditsy girlfriend.This was classic film noir and the score was terrific. It really added to the suspense of the film. It should also be noted that the depiction of jazz musicians was a bit racist. The camera angle made them all look as if they were on drugs. Maybe that was common then. It bears more investigation.It is always good to go back to the beginning to see how a film was first handles. Now, I will take another look at the 1988 version with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. I have seen it, but need to refresh my memory. Last years "Crank" with Jason Statham is a modern version of this film.