Tuesday, May 15, 2012


In the opening moments of Rudolph Mate's D.O.A., a man walks into a police station and announces he wants to report a murder. When asked who was the victim, his response stuns the officers: "I was."

The man is Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien). Away from business for a week, he hopes to get his mind off his troubles. But someone slipped poison into his drink, and it's up to him and him alone to find out who did such a thing.

The question remains: why would anyone do this to an innocent man? Does Frank have a few skeletons in the closet? It seems likely judging by how some people look at him. But these secrets I shall keep hidden for the sake of surprise.

As well as O'Brien's performance, the film also relies on Dimitri Tiomkin's score and Ernest Laszlo's cinematography, two crucial elements in any noir. They are crux for building suspense and capturing mood. Hey, I've seen enough noirs to know that's true.

It's a bit confusing if you don't pay attention but still a very well done film. It's not as great as the other noirs of its era, but it's as clever as them. Worth a look.

My Rating: ****

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