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D.O.A. (1988)

Dexter Cornell, an English Professor becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him. Dexter has good reason to want to find the murderer but hasn't much time. He finds... See full summary »

Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Mrs. Fitzwaring
...
...
Gail Cornell
...
Bernard
...
Cookie Fitzwaring
...
Nicholas Lang (as Rob Knepper)
...
Graham Corey
...
Detective Ulmer
Jack Kehoe ...
Detective Brockton
...
Elaine Wells
Karen Radcliffe ...
Jane Corey
...
Chief Resident
Lee Gideon ...
Mr. Fitzwaring
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Storyline

Dexter Cornell, an English Professor becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him. Dexter has good reason to want to find the murderer but hasn't much time. He finds help and comfort from one of his students, Sydney Fuller. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Someone poisoned Dexter Cornell. He's got to find out who. He's got to find out why. He's got to find out now. In 24 hours, he'll be Dead On Arrival.

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead on Arrival  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$12,706,478 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(some sequences)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Throughout the story, the color in the film begins to drain to monochrome, thus representing the central character's deteriorating health as the poison steadily takes its toll (until it is in black-and-white, as in the opening - presumably showing the flashback catching up to the current time-line of the story). See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, Dex shoots the villain, who falls out of a window. Dex shot the villain in the front and the villain took several steps backwards without turning around. The next shot shows the villain very obviously jumping out of the window by running up to it facing forward and spinning around in the air. See more »

Quotes

Sydney Fuller: This is life. Here, now. Take it or leave it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Touchstone Logo is in black & white and the logo's flash is accompanied by a thunder clap. See more »

Connections

Remake of D.O.A. (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

TIE A YELLOW RIBBON 'ROUND THE OLD OAK TREE
Written by Irwin Levine & L. Russell Brown (as Larry Brown)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another One slipped by
4 December 2001 | by (US) – See all my reviews

For all those people who believe the dialog is worth something, and who appreciate a farce that is clever enough for you to take it seriously, this movie will surprise you. It is not a 'whodunit' for people who can't aren't able to follow the verbal exchange of our hero, Professor Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid).

Cornell teaches in Southern California, near the tar pits. He has not published a novel in four years, his wife is divorcing him, he drinks a bit much, and is blessed or cursed with caustic wit, which he freely dispenses to his students. He has recommended a friend for advancement, and one bright young student has submitted a manuscript to him as an independent project. Cornell doesn't even want to read it, so gives it an "A", and pushes it to the side. Leaning back with a drink in his office he stares out the window, when the bright young student falls past his window on the way to meeting the sidewalk in a splat encounter.

Hal comes to talk, and they chat, drinking some more. The Cornell realizes that he HAS to read the manuscript, now. When he goes home, his wife is waiting with divorce papers. He drinks some more. She leaves, and he goes to a faculty affair, only to find her there. He drinks even more. And when his wife learns that the student is dead, she swoons, and he learns that she had been having an affair with the student. This of course prompts him to do some more serious drinking. The next morning he wakes up to find himself in the dorm room of one of his students, a freshman named Syd (Meg Ryan).

He feels worse than a hangover, goes to the doctor and learns that he has been poisoned, it is irreversible, and he has 24-48 hours to live. He doesn't have much time to find out who killed him, and there are sub-plots, motives, relationships and surprises at every turn, although everything makes sense at the end. All his discoveries and exchanges are adorned with sarcasm, dry wit and keen observations. Let's just say that this movie will give new meaning to the adage "publish or perish".

There are no bad performances in this movie. There are recurrent images, and symbolism used at careful intervals. Watch for the cracked glass, and images distorted through glass. Some of the camera shots are revolutionary for 1988, and some of the violent action is carefully and skillfully choreographed. The music is unobtrusive and appropriate, although occasionally it makes it's own statement, in song lyrics. The visuals in this flick are impressive.

If there are any failures, it is that the opening 20 minutes move a little slow, and nearly puts you to sleep. But the pacing picks up quickly, with just the right amount of exposition in between action segments.

There are no explicit sexual encounters, although there is violence and some bad language.

This is a writer's movie, and is best appreciated by those who have a sense of humor about their own success or failure. I do think if you take it seriously, you're already in big trouble.


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