D.O.A. (1950) – Cult Classic Film Noir
D.O.A. (1950) – Small-town accountant Frank Bigelow goes to San Francisco for a week’s fun prior to settling down with fiancée Paula. After a night on the town, he wakes up with more than just a hangover; doctors tell him he’s been given a “luminous toxin” with no antidote and has, at most, a week to live! Not knowing who did it or why, Bigelow embarks on a frantic odyssey to find his own murderer.
This film is the kind that doesn’t kid itself at all- it knows what it is and is pretty happy to have it that way. It’s filled with the classic tough-guy, ‘real-to-life’ dialog of the thriller, while staying a foot ahead of the audience. This is because the director, Rudolph Matte (the great cinematographer behind many a film-noir and Carl Dreyer’s masterpieces) has such a clever hand of the material. One wrong step and it could slip into being too hokey. In fact there is a camp factor in a couple of scenes; the subject matter almost slips into Naked Gun parody before stepping back up for air. But for the fans of mysteries of today would want to check this out, as it provides a twist on the usual logic of the sub-genre (if a genre at all). While not as ‘dark’ as other film-noir pictures, it still ranks very high in it storytelling, having a potent enough story to tell, and a slew of actors just pushing the limits of the B-movie style. – MisterWhiplash
Director: Rudolph Maté
Starring: Edmond O’Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler