7.4/10
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130 user 58 critic

D.O.A. (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 21 April 1950 (USA)
Frank Bigelow, told he's been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tries to find out who killed him and why.

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Writers:

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Miss Foster (as Beverly Campbell)
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Henry Hart ...
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Sam
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Sue (as Cay Forrester)
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Dr. Matson (as Fred Jaquet)
Lawrence Dobkin ...
Dr. Schaefer (as Larry Dobkin)
Frank Gerstle ...
...
Kitty
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Storyline

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. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A picture as excitingly different as its title!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 April 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead on arrival  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

When the bus stops in front of one of the henchmen chasing Frank , the front door opens, but when they cut to the inside of the bus, the door is still closed, and remains closed, until Frank gets up and goes out the rear door. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Homicide Detective: Can I help you?
Frank Bigelow: I'd like to see the man in charge.
Homicide Detective: In here...
Frank Bigelow: I want to report a murder.
Homicide Captain: Sit down. Where was this murder committed?
Frank Bigelow: San Francisco, last night.
Homicide Captain: Who was murdered?
Frank Bigelow: I was.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits read "The medical facts in this motion picture are authentic. Luminous toxin is a descriptive term for an actual poison. Technical Adviser, Edward F. Dunne, M.D." See more »

Connections

Featured in Shadows in the Storm (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
D.O.A. 1 and 2.
4 February 2002 | by See all my reviews

This is probably Rudolph Maté's peak.When a B-movie reaches such heights,it should be called nothing but classic.The movie starts slowly,after a brilliant opening,then picks up speed and ends up leaving the spectator panting for breath.Like every film noir -why do they use a French expression for a typically American genre?-,it's very hard to catch up with the very complicated plot,although the cause for the fighting is laughable(a bill of sale).There are a lot of characters,male and female,but the scenarists manage to preserve cohesion.This film noir recalls the Greek tragedy,because we learn in the very first scene that the hero has been irremediably poisoned . Some scenes are particularly brilliant:the killer sadistically smiling,as he tells the hero he's going to kill him slowly,very slowly(the irony lies in the fact that he does not know his prisoner is really slowly dying);the short-lived reunion with his girlfriend;the funeral urn.The last line is the very title of the film.

There have been very harsh words about the remake("color me dead"(1988)),featuring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan.Probably unfair.It's no longer a film noir,but rather a whodunit,the plot -only the initial situation is the same- multiplies the wrong tracks .Quaid is a college professor and Ryan a student.So do not try to compare it with its highly superior predecessor,and you'll be able to enjoy it .


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