D.O.A. (1988 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Annabel Jankel
|Produced by||Ian Sander
|Screenplay by||Charles Edward Pogue|
|Story by||Charles Edward Pogue
|Music by||Chaz Jankel|
|Edited by||Raja Gosnell
Michael R. Miller
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Running time||96 minutes|
The film was directed by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, the creators of Max Headroom, and scripted by Charles Edward Pogue. The writers of the original film, Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene, share story credit with Pogue.
A man staggers into the police station to report a murder. When the desk sergeant asks who was murdered, he answers: "I was."
That man is Professor Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid), who then sits down to video-tape his account.
Thirty-six hours previously, Cornell, is on campus. He is a college professor, was once a promising writer, made his name and is secure in his tenure, but he has spent the last four years going though the motions and playing it safe. "Publish or perish" is the contrasting rule of university politics and Cornell helps his friend Hal Petersham (Daniel Stern) with his first book.
While he is in his office, a promising student, Nick Lang (Robert Knepper), jumps off a building right outside his office in an apparent suicide. This, coupled with the depressing Christmas season, unseasonably hot weather and the divorce papers given to him by his wife Gail (Jane Kaczmarek) leads Cornell to seek out the local bars for a night of drinking. There he meets admiring student Sydney Fuller (Meg Ryan) and they proceed to get drunk.
The next morning, Cornell, feeling his sickness is more than just a hangover, stops by the campus medical clinic for a checkup. After running some tests, they discover that he has been poisoned and has 36 hours to live. An incredulous Cornell staggers out to try to make sense of it all.
Aided by Fuller, whom he kidnaps by super-gluing himself to her arm, he attempts to recreate the events of the previous night hoping to discover who could have murdered him. The list of suspects includes his wife, who is also the victim of a murder, which the police make half-hearted efforts to pin on Cornell.
It is learned that Lang was not a suicide but was also murdered. Cornell also suspects Lang's mentor Mrs. Fitzwaring (Charlotte Rampling), Bernard (Christopher Neame) the Fitzwarings' chauffeur and Graham Corey (Jay Patterson), a jealous co-worker.
In the end, at the police station, Cornell has solved the crime. He staggers out to meet his fate.
- Dennis Quaid as Professor Dexter Cornell
- Meg Ryan as Sydney Fuller
- Daniel Stern as Hal Petersham
- Charlotte Rampling as Mrs. Fitzwaring
- Jane Kaczmarek as Gail Cornell
- Christopher Neame as Bernard
- Robin Johnson as Cookie Fitzwaring
- Robert Knepper as Nicholas Lang
- Jack Kehoe as Detective Brockton
- Jay Patterson as Graham Corey
D.O.A. opened to mixed reviews and currently has a rating of 61% on Rotten Tomatoes. Film critic Roger Ebert called it a "witty and literate thriller", while Caryn James of The New York Times called it "one of the season's biggest disappointments".
The movie debuted strongly, despite its poor reviews, at No.3 at the US box office.