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Ascotrudgeracer

"D.O.A." (1950) Like "The Big Sleep" (1946) In This Way...

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...It's nearly impossible to figure out the plots, don't you think?

I love them both, understand.

But as many times as I've watched the "You don't seem to understand, Bigelow...you've been murdered!" ... I still don't know why it was so important to kill an accountant in Banning, CA. Something about "bills of lading?"

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Yes, Bigalow, being some kind of accountant, had processed a "bill of lading" or some such document, which would have been proof that the bad guy had swindled someone- or something like that. They wanted to "get rid of him" so that he'd never be able to wave that document in court and testify against them - or blackmail them with it.

Why didn't they just break into the guy's office, find the document, and steal it? But then, we wouldn't have had the fascinating and enjoyable set -up ( the deadly drink in that "crazy" bar, man, plus any number of floozies...) and search to follow.

 

My take on this is: neither *The Big Sleep* nor *D.O.A.* is about plot. Especially with the former, I just don't care who killed who and how and why - I care about the style, the subtle ( and sometimes not so subtle) comedy, the character actors ( hey, who doesn't love Agnes, and poor old Harry? ), and the look of the film. I've long since given up trying to figure out the plot, and baby I don't care.

 

*D.O.A.* makes more sense plot-wise than *The Big Sleep*, but even it is more about the ride than the destination -which, unfortunately for Bigalow, is the cemetary. But look at how much fun we have, rushing along with poor desperate confused Edmund O'Brien ( great performance). And that dim-witted evil thug with the sadistic streak - one of the nastiest dim thugs in moviedom.

 

I recommend, just enjoy the show. Plot, schmot.

 

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*The Big Sleep* is actually kooky enough to have happened, DOA was a bit more obscure.

 

Sort of unlike The Lady from Shanghai which was too far out there to believe. Those people had to get Orson so they could frame him when there were dozens around they could have done that too.

 

And so worried about getting caught when at the end all of them open up and shoot it out?

 

This is why I think *the big sleep* is believably kooky. I only wish it had been censored less, the story is even better.

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I agree that both DOA and The Big Sleep are more about style than plot. I have read The Big Sleep book more than once (I did so since I loved the movie so much) so of course my view of the movie is tainted by my knowledge of the book. You are right that the changes required by the censors hurt the plot to some degree (also the romance between Bogie and Bacall since Marlow really liked Mrs. Mars).

 

What I think confuses a lot of people in The Big Sleep is all the action and murders going on NOT related to the killing of Sean Reagan and the fact that instead of Carmen killing Sean the censors required Mars killed him (thus the killing of Mars at the end is justified).

 

But as noted it doesn't really matter so much. Both movies keep us on our toes even if one doesn't know what is going on! Now that is style over substance!

 

Edited by: jamesjazzguitar on Aug 16, 2011 9:04 PM

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*The Big Sleep* is one of my favorite films. What makes it great is the characters, the dialog, and even the convoluted, contorted plot.

 

I love *DOA* as well, but it is much easier to explain - it is a 'high concept' film, with the concept being that a man solves his own murder! On the face of it, that would be impossible. The film shows that it IS possible, even if some of us find it unlikely. The whole film is organized around that one concept, and everything flows from it.

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D.O.A. is not quite as convoluted as The Big Sleep, but it's still no

walk in the park. I usually forget the details of the plot and have

to start from halfway the next time I watch it. I think D.O.A. has one

of the cutest love stories in noir. Frank the perpetual bachelor and

sweet Paula who's hoping against hope. When he finally realizes what

he has, it's too late. I've mentioned this before, but does anyone notice

the humorous sound effect that happens when he first checks into the

hotel and sees a number of pretty women? I always get a laugh out of

it.

 

Many, if not all, of Chandler's novels, start with what appears to be a

fairly simple crime, usually a murder, and then there's another one or

more characters and suspects are introduced, identities switch, and

before you know it you need a scorecard to remember who's who and

what's what. While following the twists and turns of the plot is interesting,

there is also stylish writing, a cynical world view, interesting characters,

and cracking wise dialog to enjoy.

 

 

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"...it IS possible to solve your own murder."

Very precise way of boiling the plot down.

Didn't Lohan star in an update (at least title-wise): "I Know Who Killed Me." (2007).

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Great post, Miss Wonderly!!! I agree completely!!!

 

Adore DOA and THE BIG SLEEP both for all the reasons you mentioned!

 

I too find DOA a bit easier to figure out plot-wise, but I do agree, why worry about Frank Bigelow, why all the fuss? Doesn't matter, what a great flick and great performance by Edmond O'Brien!

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