Frank Bigelow, told he’s been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tries to find out who killed him and why. Small-town accountant Frank Bigelow goes to San Francisco for a week’s fun prior to settling down with fiancée Paula. After a night on the town, he wakes up with more than just a hangover; doctors tell him he’s been given a “luminous toxin” with no antidote and has, at most, a week to live! Not knowing who did it or why, Bigelow embarks on a frantic odyssey to find his own murderer.
Rudolph Maté (1898-1964) became an assistant cameraman for Alexander Korda in Hungarian films of the late teens. In the mid ‘20s he lensed some of Carl Dreyer’s Mika’l, and became cinematographer for Dreyer’s classics La Passion De Jeanne D’Arc and Vampyr. After working in France on Fritz Lang’s Liliom and Rene Clair’s Le Dernier Milliardaire, Mate came to Hollywood in 1935. Here he shot such notable films as Our Relations with Laurel and Hardy, William Wyler’s Dodsworth, Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent, Korda’s That Hamilton Woman, and Lubitsch’s To Be Or Not to Be. Mate began directing in 1947 with the comedy It Had to Be You, which he co-directed with Don Hartman. As a director Mate is most fondly remembered for his early films, the noirs The Dark Past and D.O.A., and producer George Pal’s apocalyptic science-fictioner When Worlds Collide. —allmovie guide
A very clever storyline and an excellent performance from Edmond O'Brien as Frank Bigalow. This is vastly superior to the 1988 remake starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. However, the wolf whistle side effects used while Frank is staying in San Francisco were not only irritating and totally unnecessary but they also detracted from the atmosphere of the film.
It is really a shame that the second part of this film indulges in the who-made-what-to-whom routine, because it was on it's way to become my favorite film-noir ever. The list of entailed characters could have been reduced a lot without the coherence of the script been hurt. And that's all the bad things I can say about this gem of a movie. LIFE! LIFE! LIFE!