D.O.A. was ahead of its time. It's a pulpy noir, sure, but one that carries a genre-subverting payload. The murder victim whose case must be solved is the protagonist - a recently poisoned accountant who must find his own killers before a glowing toxin does him in.

There are plenty of plot twists, but it's a central black-hearted irony that gives the film its weight. Unraveling his own murder wakes up our protagonist in a powerful way, and he comes fully to life just in time to die. Very high-concept for 1950.


Eagle-eyed viewers will notice a cameo from Downtown LA's Bradbury Building - which you might recall from the climax of Blade Runner and the insurance office in Double Indemnity. Extra points for spotting the neighboring Million Dollar Theater, who we also get to see in Blade Runner.

Since D.O.A. was released in 1950, it wouldn't ordinarily be in the public domain. We have unspecified clerical error and a blown copyright renewal deadline to thank for its availability. Yay for clerical errors!

Join us - D.O.A. is a beautifully shot, well-executed film noir with a little existential wisdom in its back pocket.

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