'REMAKE REWIND - D.O.A. Double Feature'
(Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Edmund O'Brien, Pamela Britton, et al / DVD / NR+R / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: A man trying to solve his own murder is a strange and unique story premise found in these two cinematic thrillers. The premise may be the same for the two movies but each film has their own distinct style and plot twists that will keep you wondering how things will turn out. Check out the classic from 1950 or the remake from 1988 and you can decide for yourselves which version is better.
DVD Verdict: In the 1950 version, the better one for the most part, Edmond O'Brien is at his absolute best as the worried Frank Bigelow, worried because he's in a rotten predicament: poisoned by a random drop of 'luminous poison' at a jazz club, with no chances of survival. The one thing to do then is to investigate it, 'his' way, through searching the histories of men like Phillips and Rakubian. One has to pay attention to his story a few times, but after a while everything does come together, adding to the suspense. O'Brien doesn't play him very naturalistically- it's actually quite great at being a simply cinematic performance, with the occasional swagger, roughness, but determination of the best of the doomed heroes of these stories. There's soul in his work, even as he says lines fast or with such vigor to maybe go overboard. But it works, especially because of the other cast around him being so solid.
In the 1988 version, English lecturer Dexter Cornell (Quaid) is a bitter, bored shell of a man. Formerly a great author, he never recovered from the critical failure of his fourth and final novel and vowed never to write again. Without the drive of writing to fill his life, he gave up on everything else too, including his marriage and his dedication to the job. When pupil Nick Lang (Rob Knepper) apparently commits suicide after handing in an assignment, Cornell hits the booze to get over the shock. But soon thereafter, he learns that he has drunk a slow-acting poison, and that within 48 hours he will be dead. So close to death, he finally finds a renewed purpose in being alive .... as, aided by student Sydney Fuller (Meg Ryan), he desperately attempts to solve his own "murder". This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.