D.O.A. (1950), a film noir drama film directed by Rudolph Maté, is considered a classic of the genre. The frantically paced plot revolves around a doomed man’s quest to find out who has poisoned him, and why.
The film stars Edmond O’Brien and Pamela Britton.
Leo C. Popkin produced D.O.A. for his short-lived Cardinal Pictures, but failed to renew the copyright in 1977, so that it has fallen into the public domain.
The film begins with what a BBC reviewer called “perhaps one of cinema’s most innovative opening sequences.” The scene is a long, behind-the-back tracking sequence featuring Frank Bigelow (Edmond O’Brien) walking through the hallway of a police station to report his own murder. Oddly, the police almost seem to have been expecting him and already know who he is.
A flashback begins with Bigelow in his hometown of Banning, California, where he is an accountant and notary public. He decides to take a one-week vacation in San Francisco, but this does not sit well with Paula Gibson (Pamela Britton), his confidential secretary and girlfriend, as he does not want her to accompany him.
By Rupolph Mate (https://archive.org/details/doa_1949) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Directed by Rudolph Maté
Produced by Leo C. Popkin
Based on Der Mann, der seinen Mörder sucht by Ernst Neubach (play)
Starring Edmond O’Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler, Beverly Garland
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Cinematography Ernest Laszlo
Edited by Arthur H. Nadel
Production company Cardinal Pictures
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates April 30, 1950
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States