Saturday 22 January 2011

D.O.A. [1950]

D.O.A. has one of the most memorable opening sequences in the history of film noirs – a man walks into a police building to report a murder… his own murder! The remainder of the movie is played in flashback where the protagonist Frank Bigelow , a CPA vacationing in California, gets mysteriously poisoned while in a bar. With only a day or two to live, Frank goes about solving his own murder piece-by-piece. Exceptionally played by Edmund O’Brien, Frank is a regular man inadvertently thrown into a nightmare – an inescapable nightmare and of the darkest sort, and a sordid and sinister world of black marketers, extortionists and cold murderers. The plot might seem a maze to many for its convoluted nature, yet it also happens to be wildly intriguing and gripping, and the storytelling has ensured that the film ought to rank as one of the most innovative noirs ever made. The film is relentlessly dark, and expectedly it ends on a fatalistic note – the final sequence where Frank’s file is closed with the remarks “Dead on Arrival” would rank as one of the most fascinating final scenes. The film is frenetically paced leaving one breathless at times, and when the film gets over, I had a feeling that I too was as much a part of the nightmare as the protagonist was. Yes, it was a B-film, but it remains a classic-noir nonetheless.

Director: Rudolph Mate
Genre: Crime Thriller/Film Noir/Mystery
Language: English
Country: US


Sam Juliano said...

Yep, Shubhajit, one of the cinema's most unforgettable openings, and a film that dserves a sparkling new transfer. It's the HIGH NOON of film noir in terms of the running time/actual time, and the lead is impressive, as is the craftsmanship across the board. Superlative framing capsule here!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Sam. I was bowled over by the innovativeness of the plot. And very few movies can boast of such sterling opening & closing scenes. This sure ranks as one of the most unique & innovative noirs.