Quick Film Guide – D.O.A. (Rudolph Maté, 1950)

Directed by: Rudolph Maté

D.O.A. is arguably the most important film Rudolph Maté ever directed, as well as one of his first in the director’s chair after an acclaimed career as a cinematographer that landed him a remarkable five consecutive Academy Awards nominations in the 1940s.

Given Maté’s background, it is no wonder that the film should be remembered for its celebrated opening – a long-tracking shot of an anonymous man, filmed from behind, walking down a corridor. This introduces mystery and intrigue right from the start, as we soon find out the man is our protagonist (played by Edmund O’Brien), a man who has been poisoned and decides to own his inevitable death by finding out who his killer was.

Besides the visuals, D.O.A. is a lesson in narrative structure and intensity. The film never misses a beat and is a thrill-ride from start to finish, never stumbling upon its many twists and turns. Despite the fact this film is an American classic, it is now in the public domain due to an error to the renewal of the copyright – and for that reason, you can watch it legally via the player below.

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