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Suspense as startling as a strangled scream! This is it, the defining motion picture in all of "film noir," written by Academy Award-nominee Martin Goldsmith (The Narrow Margin) and directed by legendary B-movie maker Edgar G. Ulmer (Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, The Black Cat). Tom Neal (The Brute Man, The Pride of the Yankees), handsome 1940's leading man, brings to thrilling life a down-on-his-luck nightclub performer who takes one wrong turn and picks up the meanest femme fatale in all of "noir," played to perfection by the incomparable Ann Savage (The Dark Horse, The Spider) in one of the most powerful and riveting performances ever recorded on celluloid.
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Top Customer Reviews
A potential ride in the form of a friendly trucker strikes up a conversation. Where you coming from? West. Where you going to? East.
Roberts is wrong, though. He's coming from Hell and he's going to Nowhere, and the last thing he needs is a chatty trucker along for company.
DETOUR is told in a flashback from that lonely stool. Roberts and his girlfriend work as pianist/singer in a fleabag club out east. Comes a foggy night and she splits up with him to pursue fame out west. Weeks later he calls and they agree to get back together. He'll come out west and they can be married.
Being down at his heels Roberts is forced to hitchhike to California. All goes well until he reaches Arizona, where Fate deals Roberts one nasty hand after another. In short order the innocent Roberts finds and feels himself a hunted man.
DETOUR is a wonderful film. Neal is perfect as the moody young musician who finds himself trapped first by and accident and later by femme fatale Ann Savage, who know his terrible secret and has no scruples against using it against him for her own nefarious purposes. Veteran B-movie director Edgar Ulmer has enough tricks up his sleeves to surmount the Poverty Row studio conditions he was working under. If you're a fan of film noir, or enjoy hard-bitten stories, you'll enjoy DETOUR.
By the way, my thirty year old first edition copy of The Film Encyclopedia had an interesting entry on DETOUR'S star Tom Neal.Read more ›
This film has inspired generations of filmmakers from the French new wave to Quentin Tarantino, because it is a masterpiece of low budget esthetics. It is indeed one of the most influential film in film history.
Produced with a next-to-nothing budget and a production schedule of a mere week of shooting, the precision of and ingenuity of Edgar G. Ulmer's direction realized a rich cinematic universe filled with extremely expressive details. Take for instance the way the lighting changes from naturalistic style to a haunting spot-lighting effect on Tom Neal's eyes as he goes into a flashback of his doomed story (a technic that, by the way, Scorsese has stolen so effectively in THE AGE OF INNOCENCE) . Or the cleverness of expressing his nightmarish state of mind simply by shifting the focus of his point of view shot in and out.
Even though it is a low budget film in which it was impossible to hire known actors, the performance is incredible. Tom Neil's haunting voice-over sets up the entire mood so effectively, and Ann Savage is... well, she is the ultimate femme fatale, so savage and brutal.
Before the DVD release, I had been able to see the film only with dupy grainy prints and low quality video. But now we have the DVD which is TRANSFERRED FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I'm a big fan of film noir movies from the 40s and 50s and was excited about seeing: Detour, which I had heard so much about.
I just couldn't get into this one. Read more
This film noir is superb, we both enjoy watching it every so often when TCM hosts it, hence had to purchase it.Published on Feb. 18 2014 by Linda McMullen
What a movie! The stars are B movie grade, but absolutely shine in their roles. Tom Neal is a poor but honest piano player. Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2013 by Big Bill
Detour is one of the finest examples of the magic of film noir. Made with an unbelievably low budget, you would never guess it was because it comes across as a professionally well... Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2011 by Moodywoody
Well, Steve said most of what I'd say, but I was struck by the unique dynamic between the two leads. She calls the shots, but then he ignores her obvious invitation. Read morePublished on April 18 2006 by Ken McLean
One of my favourite movies of all time. A sleazy tale filled with bleakness that never lets up. Tom Neal plays the fatalistic Al spot-on. Read morePublished on June 24 2004 by A zealous gun girl
This is a short, low-budget film, but it leaves a BIG impact!
I'm not going to give away the plot except to write:
You wouldn't want to trade places with Tom Neal's... Read more
... It was awful, in my opinion... I can't believe that they couldn't have come up with a cleaner copy. For a DVD with no extras, this was pretty edgy quality. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2003 by Dwight Jaynes
"Detour" is an accomplished work--and was recognized as such at the time of its original release, (see the "Parent's Magazine" review from 1945 for... Read morePublished on Dec 26 2003
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