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Detour (1945)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | October 1946 (UK)
Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble.

Director:

Edgar G. Ulmer

Writers:

Martin Goldsmith (screenplay), Martin Goldsmith (original story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tom Neal ... Al Roberts
Ann Savage ... Vera
Claudia Drake ... Sue Harvey
Edmund MacDonald ... Charles Haskell Jr
Tim Ryan ... Nevada Diner Proprietor
Esther Howard ... Diner Waitress
Pat Gleason Pat Gleason ... Joe
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Storyline

In flashback, New York nightclub pianist Al Roberts hitchhikes to Hollywood to join his girl Sue. On a rainy night, the sleazy gambler he's riding with mysteriously dies; afraid of the police, Roberts takes the man's identity. But thanks to a blackmailing dame, Roberts' every move plunges him deeper into trouble... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He went searching for love... but Fate forced a DETOUR to Revelry... Violence... Mystery!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1946 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El desvío See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,127, 2 December 2018

Gross USA:

$16,172

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,172
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

After meeting up with Roberts, Vera's hair continually changes whilst riding in the convertible. See more »

Quotes

Al Roberts: [as narrator] What kind of dames thumb rides? Sunday School teachers?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Detour (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me
(uncredited)
Written by Jimmy McHugh and Clarence Gaskill
Performed by Claudia Drake
Played often in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The hitchhiker
23 July 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

It's a tribute to Edgar Ulmer that "Detour", made for about thirty thousand dollars, still keeps an interest with new fans who discover it. According to some comments, "Detour" has not been seen in this country in quite a while, but we recall the first time we saw it when it was presented at New York's Film Forum as part of a Film Noir festival in the late eighties. The copy shown recently on TCM has a poor quality, while the print we saw at Film Forum was in better condition.

What makes "Detour" a must see, is the clever way its narrative unfolds on the screen. Al and Sue are seen first in the small bistro he plays the piano and she sings, in Manhattan. Sue sings a happy rendition of "I Can't Believe You're in Love with Me", and Al shows he can improvise on a theme by Chopin as he jazzes it up. When Sue decides to pack it and move to L.A., Tom promises he'll follow. The tragic mistake he makes is to intent crossing the country hitchhiking. Even in the forties, it's a miracle he made it alive!

In Arizona Al meets the kind Charles Haskell, who happens to be going all the way to L.A. and offers him a ride. The two men develop an easy friendship until the point when Haskell dies of an apparent heart attack. Al disposes of the body and keeps going, assuming now, Haskell's persona. At the nearest gas station he sees a pretty woman, Vera, who appears is hitchhiking, and offers her a ride. This will prove to be his biggest mistake.

Vera turned out to be Al's worst nightmare. She knows Al is not Haskell since she, herself, knows the man. Al ends up a virtual prisoner hiding in the apartment they have rented in Hollywood. He can't escape. When Vera realizes there's a lot of money to be made by having Al pretend to impersonate the dead Haskell, he refuses. She threatens to call the police and he is left on the other room pulling the telephone cord...

The film works because all the elements are in place in this satisfying 67 minutes work and because of the great performances Mr. Ulmer got out of Tom Neal and Ann Savage. Edmund MacDonald and Claudia Drake played Haskell and Sue.

"Detour" was shot in two sets and it shows. It's a small film that doesn't pretend what it's not, and that's basically why audiences seem to like it as it's discovered.


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