A WWII tale of romance that begins during New Orlean's "Mardi Gras" celebration when a soldier and a girl meet and fall in love. He asks her to marry him but she decides to wait until his ... See full summary »
Edgar G. Ulmer
Whether by chance or providential design, Edgar G. Ulmer's definitive rumination on fate - otherwise known as Detour (1945) - has slowly etched itself into the minds of film lovers around the world as one as one of the quintessential b-movie noirs of its day.
Bolstered by similar musings and patched together at about the same time, Club Havana (1945) amounts to little more than a trifle. A story is concocted out of nowhere and, once over, dissipates back into nothing. But that's part of its charm. In draining a Grand Hotel (1932)-type scenario of a budget as well as a purpose, the film acquires a strong offhand flavour that legitimises the whole ordeal. Low-budget-friendly aggravations of sadness, solitude and regret hover over the set as individual stories coalesce into an abstract whole. Talking leads into music and back into talking. The top-billed Tom Neal is diluted into the narrative and what little there is of a plot through-line emerges elsewhere - and why not?
Ulmer knew how to breathe life into an obviously vacant affair and have a lot of fun in the process. Club Havana may not be Exhibit A (nor B, nor C...) of this refreshing trait, but it's certainly one to consider down the road.
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