DOA

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ken123
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DOA

Post by ken123 »

DOA is a great Noir with Edmund O' Brien in top form. It is one of my favorites. The remake is a mess. :wink:
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Post by klondike »

DOA is indeed a noir landmark, and about the last icon of the genre that should ever have been covered with a remake.
(Pop a call to Dennis Quaid; he'll probably agree with me!)
I think my favorite part of this gritty Philly-steak of a thriller was the goon portrayed by a waxy-faced Neville Brand . . . talk about lusting for a little "sado-snack"! :shock:
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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

I know someone who worked on the remake, and I must confess that I just couldn't bring myself to say great things about it to my friend at the time. I just hemmed and hahed because I know how hard she worked on it, and it was one of her first big movies. But I think that fact it was a corker is now something she acknowledges...

Edmund O'Brien was great in the only one that should have ever illuminated the dark of the theater.
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Post by jdb1 »

I love this movie, except for that weird bit with the sound effects at the hotel early in the film - whenever a trashy looking woman walks by, you hear a kind of wolf whistle. Is that in the original, or just in re-releases, like the not very good DVD I bought years ago?

It's really out of place in a serious film like this, and has, for me, a trivializing effect on the action. The expressions on the faces of the men, as they look at the women, makes any sound effects unnecessary.
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moira finnie
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DOA and Women

Post by moira finnie »

I don't know what the origin of those weird wolf whistles is, Judith, and though I really enjoy DOA, I found that all the characterizations of women in the film, especially that of Edmond O'Brien's clinging secretary/fiancee, (Pamela Britton), to be one of the elements of the movie that makes me uneasy. Brother, if I had that marriage-hungry gal breathing down my neck, I'd sweat as much as Eddie does too. Even though the movie seems to soften in its attitude toward her by the end of the story, that smothering layer of claustrophobia that Britton's character imparts can't be shaken off very easily. Femme fatale Laurette Luez seems to be one of the few women in the film whose character attempts to carve out some kind of individual identity, and look what happens to her after all her manipulative shenanigans.

I suppose that this fits nicely into the ambivalent and tawdry noir worldview of women in general. Yes, broads are a necessary evil, but they do get in the way of a guy's desire to break out of that harness that dames offer. Of course, one of the things that makes film noir so fascinating is just this streak of misogyny and a manicheistic worldview that underlies all that dark, dangerous glamour. Film Noir males often seem to be attempting to break out of the inevitable traps of society, while the females seem to have given up struggling to "get out" and are often hellbent on making the system work for them, or at least making guys help them get a leg up in the world. Am I reading a bit too much into it all? Probably, though those wolf whistles are odd...

Btw, not only is Mongo giving us some fab pictures of Edmond O'Brien as he shines the spotlight on him over on the TCM message board, but Mr. O'Brien has featured roles in two Noir classics tonight, Wednesday, April 18th on TCM at 8:00 PM ET in The Killers and at 10:00PM ET in Brute Force.
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ken123
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DOA

Post by ken123 »

Moira,
Eddie O' Brien in Brute Force ! I don't think so. :wink:
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vallo
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Post by vallo »

Edmund O'Brien plays an uncredited Inmate in "Brute Force" In the credits they even mention Fred Mac Murray and Claudette Colbert because of the film (The Egg & I) that the prisoners watch.

vallo
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

"Manichiestic." Wow, Moira, it's been a long time since anyone I knew used that word correctly in a sentence.

I've always regarded DOA as one of the noir-est of the noirs, and it follows well my concept of the noirs as an allegory for a descent to, or ascent from, the underworld (it was generally a round trip in these films). Many are consumed in the journey, but some do make it back alive. It's every man for himself in that milieu.

As was pointed out in some non-fiction film I saw a while back - was it on TCM, and was it about noirs specifically, or about filmakers making noirs? -- the noir as a genre really came into its own after WWII, made by the filmakers who had served in the military in WWII shooting footage of battles and their aftermaths.

There were of course written works of that genre already in existence, written for the most part by writers who had their own personal demons to contend with. But it seems these postwar filmakers had really learned first hand what Hell must look like, and those experiences were transferred into the dark worlds existing at home. And so the greatest of the noirs were made in the late 1940s and early 1950s, until all-color-all the time films became the vogue. That genre necessitated a different world view.

I wonder if anyone has done some sort of informal poll to discover if those with a background in the classic literature like noirs more than do those film lovers who aren't familiar with them. But certainly they can be appreciated for themselves, even if you haven't read The Divine Comedy.
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ken123
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Post by ken123 »

Vallo

Thanks for the info on Eddie O' Brien uncredited appearance in Brute Force. I have seen the film about 100 times and don't ever remember seeing him. Not only is it on TCM tonight, but my DVD of BF is arriving today. I will really have to watch very closely. :cry: Moira - I'm sorry !
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Further to my last post - when I talked about the noirs of the 1940s and 1950s, I meant of course to say "the greatest number of noirs" not "the greatest of the noirs." I would give that honor to "The Maltese Falcon," which was released in the early 40s.

Aside: Every time I look at my new avatar, graciously posted for me by ptrekgirl, I do a mini-doubletake. Is that me in Prospect Park in 1967, or is it Ina Balin? [It's Ina; the light eyes give it away] It will take a while to get used to. How I wished I still looked like that, but at least I looked like that once!
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ken123
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Post by ken123 »

I guess the presence of Whit Bissell in Brute Force made me miss Eddie O' Brien in Brute Force. But more likely the presence of Ann, Ella, and Yvonne would make me forget Mr. O' Brien, but I still can't picture him in that film. :shock:
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Post by moira finnie »

Ken,
I shouldn't have said featured role in Brute Force--it's more like bit part. Blink or go out to the fridge and you might miss him.

Judith,
One of the things that interested me about film noir as a kid, long before I'd heard the term, was that I realized instinctively that despite the allegedly depraved subject matter of the genre in the various films shown on the tube, underneath it all, there was a strong moral sense of outrage at the unjust society, world and universe.

The noir filmmakers, who had experienced the poverty of the Depression and, as you pointed out, the brutality of the war, had a very sharp sense of the need to describe the broken world they'd experienced. Even though they couldn't offer any "pie in the sky" happy endings, occasionally they offered some glimmer of hope on occasion. In a sense, DOA is one of the darkest, but at least the end of the film, there's some glimmer of justice and hope in the acknowledgement that poor Edmond O'Brien realized that he truly loved Miss Gotta-Get-Married, Pamela Britton found herself loving the person, Edmond O'Brien, not just the prospective spouse, and O'Brien got his killer.
So happy ending--nah. Just ending--kinda. Fascinating movie and genre. Must unearth my Eddie Muller books...
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Yes, I agree with that. I think O'Brien's character did achieve a certain amount of redemption, although of course he loses his life. It's a very Holy Grail kind of plot. But then, that's why we love noirs.

It's been my postion on the TCM boards that one of the things lacking in current movies is the lack of morality, and I don't mean everything should be G rated. I mean that the stories are not morally satisfying; no lesson is promulgated, as should be the case in good fiction. Even if someone gets away with murder in a film, let it be for a good reason. I come away from the latest round of cinema with little respect for the characters and, consequently, for the actors who play them. There are exceptions, of course, but in general, I'd say a moral, or maybe a human, depth is missing from what I see these days.
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ken123
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Post by ken123 »

Pamela Britton died in Chicago while appearring in a musical. :(
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Post by nightwalker »

I also am struck by the fact that, in many noirs, DOA included, many of the structures that are normally seen as providing societal stability are called into question, particularly marriage.

Here in DOA, the need of Pamela Britton's character to ensnare Edmond O'Brien into marriage is almost palpable. One can see him in a few years (if his character had survived) feeling stifled, bored and well...trapped, just as Dick Powell's character did in PITFALL.

Other similar portrayals of marriage would have to include DOUBLE INDEMNITY, TENSION, and even the Archers in THE MALTESE FALCON (can't you just picture spending an evening with Miles & Iva at home?). It truly almost seems as if the creators of these films can't quite conceive that such a thing as a happy marriage can exist, at least for long, because it would involve imperfect, possibly even tainted, people.
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