The scene in which Bigelow runs in panic through the streets after learning he has been poisoned was a stolen shot. The pedestrians had no idea a movie was being made and no warning that Edmond O'Brien would be plowing through them.
When Frank Bigelow registers at the Allison Hotel in Los Angeles, the name directly above is Russell Rouse, one of the writers. Also on the register is Ernest Laszlo, the director of photography and Marty Moss, the assistant director.
The Phillips Export-Import Co. where Bigelow is sent in Los Angeles has its offices in the Bradbury Building, an iconic office building in Los Angeles designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and the scene of numerous movie shoots from the 1940s into the 2000s. Among the most famous movies with scenes shot in the Bradbury are Blade Runner, Chinatown and I, the Jury.
According to some sources, the idea for this film's unusual storyline was taken from the German film, Der Mann, der seinen Mörder sucht (1931) (The Man Who Seeks His Murderer), directed by Robert Siodmak and based on a play co-written by Billy Wilder. However, D.O.A. does not appear to be a remake of the earlier film because, although there is a similarity in the basic premise, i.e. a man searching for his own murderer, the two stories are fundamentally different. Furthermore, in the credits for this film, both the story and screenplay are credited to Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene with no mention of any earlier source material. D.O.A. itself has been remade a number of times as noted on the Connections page.
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film.
This is Neville Brand's first credited part, not--as is often claimed--his debut. He had small, uncredited roles in a few films before this one, such as Port of New York (1949) and Halls of Montezuma (1951) (which was made before this film but released after it).
This ultra-dark noir from the 1940s features several sunny characters from 1960s TV - Pamela Britton (title role in "Blondie" and Mrs. Brown from "My Favorite Martian"), Frank Cady (Sam Drucker of "Petticoat Junction" and "Green Acres"), Beverly Garland (Barbara Harper Douglas in "My Three Sons" and countless other TV roles), and Jerry Paris (Jerry Helper in "The Dick Van Dyke Show"). Also Paul Picerni, who was the not so sunny Lee Hobson in "The Untouchables".
Just for fun: Back in the 1980's, there was a short-run independent TV series that provided voice-overs with new dialog and plots for old movies. For D.O.A., Edmond O'Brien was "Rickie," Pamela Britton was "Ethel," and "Rickie" was running around California trying to find "Lucy," who was kidnapped or something. When "Rickie" finally collapsed at the end at the police station, the file was stamped D.O.A. in bold letters, with the title on the screen stating "D.O.A.: Death from Over Acting."
Pamela Britton plays Paula Gibson, the insecure and pushy girlfriend of Frank Bigelow, played by Edmond O'Brien. In 1951 Britton would be cast as Marge Porter in TV's The Bigelow Theatre (1950), a series of teleplays, but which had nothing to do with the name of Edmond O'Brien's character in this film.