A PICTURE AS EXCITINGLY DIFFERENT AS ITS TITLE!
Accountant Frank Bigelow (Edmond O’Brien) goes to San Francisco on vacation and ends up in the company of partying salesmen… which leads to him being poisoned by someone. A classic noir thriller that relies on an ingeniously exciting idea – a man tries to find out who killed him before time runs out. Perfect viewing if you’re hungover and wondering what happened last night, the film takes good advantage of its locations, moves fast and has an interesting sequence in a bar showing early beatniks. O’Brien and most of the story (apart from the poisoning) are a little too generic, but thrilling nonetheless, with a good score by Dimitri Tiomkin.
1950-U.S. 83 min. B/W. Produced by Leo C. Popkin. Directed by Rudolph Maté. Screenplay: Russell Rouse, Clarence Greene. Cinematography: Ernest Laszlo. Music: Dimitri Tiomkin. Cast: Edmond O’Brien (Frank Bigelow), Pamela Britton (Paula Gibson), Luther Adler (Majak), Beverly Garland, Lynn Baggett, William Ching.
Trivia: Remade as Color Me Dead (1969) and D.O.A. (1988).
Last word: “After the film was finished, my publicity man took me to dinner to meet a number of people. Somebody at the table asked me if I thought that ‘D.O.A.’ could win the Academy Award. I said, ‘No, I don’t think so’ – there was another picture I thought would win, but I can’t remember which one it was. The next day, my publicity man went back to the producers and said, ‘You know, this girl doesn’t appreciate anything you’ve done for her. You took her on when she was unknown, and last night she said she didn’t think the picture could win the Academy Award. I think she is very ungrateful.'” (Garland on how she was blacklisted by the studio, “Movies Were Always Magical”)