innocent_man: (noir)
[personal profile] innocent_man
D.O.A. is a noir film, one that set a lot of the tropes that we associate with such stories. Edmund O'Brien plays Frank Bigelow, an accountant who goes to San Francisco to take a little vacation from his girlfriend/secretary and winds up getting poisoned with a slow-acting "luminous poison" and is told he has a day or so to live. He, of course, goes in search of his killer and why the hell he was poisoned.

The reason he was poisoned is a Macguffin (you don't normally see "motive" as the Macguffin, but whatever). Really, the movie is about him moving through the stages of grief as he slowly dies, and, to a lesser extent, what he's willing to do to find his killer. The dialog is a little overwrought, but given the time and the genre, not too much.

One bit of weirdness: the sound mixing in the version we have was off. Some of the dialog was hard to hear, and, what's stranger, during a scene in which Bigelow checks out a bunch of women, you get this horrible slide-whistle wolf whistle thing, which to mean sounded like the sound effect you'd use in a bad comedy to indicate BONER. Michelle tells me that the movie is in the public domain, meaning anyone can make a version and sell it, so that might be why. But it's enjoyable, complete with femme fatales and gunplay and a truly creepy hench-thug named Chester who speaks about himself in third person. Definitely worth watching.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Daredevil

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January 2013

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