D.O.A. (1950)

“I don’t think you fully understand, Bigelow. You’ve been murdered.” Three things interest me about the film noir thriller D.O.A. (1950), which was directed by Rudolph Mate and stars Edmond O’Brien as hapless accountant “Frank Bigelow,” who sets off on a frantic quest through the streets of San Francisco to find out who has poisoned him and why: 1) The opening sequence at the police station: “I want to report a murder …”; 2) The scene in a smoky jazz club called The Fisherman that definitely exudes an early Beat Generation vibe (with one of the characters even exclaiming, “Man, am I really hip!” and another chick yelling out “Cool, cool, really cool!”); and last but certainly not least 3) Neville Brand’s memorable performance as psycho goon “Chester,” who is just a little too anxious to get the green light to either beat the shit out of or kill Bigelow: “I think I’ll give it to you in the belly … you don’t like it in the belly.” Just in case you find the entire basis of the movie implausible, a closing credit actually states, “The medical facts in this motion picture are authentic. Luminous toxin is a descriptive term for an actual poison. Technical Adviser, Edward F. Dunne, M.D.”

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