D.O.A. (1950). Director: Rudolph Mate.
Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien) is on vacation in San Francisco when an unknown person slips him a drink with luminous toxin in it, giving him only a few days to live. Distraught, angry, and confused, Bigelow sets out to find out who killed him and why. This is a completely absorbing, extremely well-acted, suspenseful, twisting, and ultimately heartbreaking movie, perfect on nearly every level. Mate keeps things moving at a fast and snappy pace, but you're always aware that an essentially decent man is facing an undeserved date, as is Paula, the woman back home (Pamela Britton) who loves him and whom he finally realizes he also loves. Billed as "Beverly Campbell," Beverly Garland certainly scores as the anxious Miss Foster, as does Laurette Luez as the malicious Marla and Lynn Baggett as the Widow Philips. Neville Brand is chilling as the psychotic Chester, and the scene with him taking Frank "for a drive" is extremely tense. The film is bolstered by superior work from composer Dimitri Tiomkin and cinmatographer Ernest Laszlo. Remarkable, unusual, and uncompromising.
Verdict: Superb! ****.