D.O.A. (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

D.O.A. (1950)




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Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien), a certified public accountant, goes on vacation in San Francisco. Awakening after a night of drinking, Frank feels sick and is informed by a doctor that he is suffering from "iridium" poisoning and has only a few days to live. Determined to find his killer, and aided by his secretary and fiancé Paula (Pamela Britton), Frank traces a shipment of iridium which he notarized to Los Angeles. Arriving in Los Angeles, Frank finds the killers, and, after a thrilling chase, kills them, later telling his story to the police. Told entirely in flashbacks -- with the unusual perspective of a murder victim functioning as his own detective, combined with the arbitrary nature of the motive and the circumstances leading to his poisoning -- D.O.A. is an unusually cynical, memorable film. Directed by Rudolph Mate, the film is fast-paced and suspenseful. The use of jazz music, combined with intense close-ups of the musicians, adds to the chaotic, claustrophobic feeling of the film. Edmond O'Brien is excellent as an ordinary man doomed by circumstance and trapped in a nightmare world.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Edmond O'Brien
as Frank Bigelow
Pamela Britton
as Paula Gibson
Beverly Garland
as Miss Foster
Beverly Campbell
as Miss Foster
Lynne Baggett
as Mrs. Philips
William Ching
as Holliday
Henry Hart
as Stanley Philips
Neville Brand
as Chester
Laurette Luez
as Marla Rakubian
Virginia Lee
as Jeanie
Lawrence Dobkin
as Dr. Schaefer
Frank Gerstle
as Dr. MacDonald
Fred Jaquet
as Dr. Matson
Jerry Paris
as Bell Hop
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Critic Reviews for D.O.A.

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3)

Mate's direction of the first portion of the story lingers too long over it, spreading the expectancy very thin, but when he does launch his suspense-building it comes over with a solid wallop.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

"D. O. A." adds up to only a mild divertissement.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Maté shoots fast and always to the point as he drives his protagonist through endless doorways and rooms which are like trapdoors and boxes in an accelerating nightmare.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

...an underwhelming thriller that could and should have fared so much better.

Full Review… | October 27, 2015
Reel Film Reviews

[VIDEO ESSAY] A high-concept movie before there was such a thing, "D.O.A." foreshadowed the poisoning of (possibly) Yasser Arafat and (definitely) Alexander Litvinenko - via polonium-210 - by a half-century.

Full Review… | April 27, 2014

Sweltering Borgesian fantasy

Full Review… | February 4, 2010

Audience Reviews for D.O.A.


"I want to report a murder." "Who was murdered?" "I was." One of the great "grabber" openings in movie history doesn't disappoint, leading to a tense and fatalistic noir about a poisoned accountant searching for his own killer.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Frank Bigelow is an accountant living on borrowed time. Someone has slipped luminous toxin into his bourbon and now he has just a few days to solve his own murder. D.O.A. is over-acted, over-scripted and under-appreciated. An absolute delight!

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

An extremely exciting, suspenseful movie, a really good movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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