Detour (1945)

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  •  (3 out of 5 stars)

A quick classic film noir with a lot of noir cliches including voiceover, corny dialogue, and some ridiculous plot twists of fate. Al Roberts (Tom Neal) is hitchhiking across the U.S. to follow his girlfriend to Hollywood and he encounters some unsavory characters along the way including a nasty femme fatale named Vera (Ann Savage). There are many better film noirs in terms of direction, writing, and acting, but this early low budget film noir is still entertaining and just 68 minutes long!

Detour is a 1945 film noir thriller that stars Tom Neal and Ann Savage. The film was adapted by Martin Goldsmith and Martin Mooney (uncredited) from Goldsmith's novel of the same name and was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. The film was released by the Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), one of the so-called "poverty row" film studios in mid-twentieth century Hollywood.

Although made on a small budget with bare sets and straightforward camera work, Detour has gathered much praise through the years and is held in high regard. In 1992, Detour was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film has fallen into the public domain.

Detour was well received upon initial release with positive reviews in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, among many others. During the 1970s, Detour began to be seen as a prime example of "Film Noir", and critics began to write about it at increasingly greater length.

Film critic Roger Ebert wrote in his essay for The Great Movies: "This movie from Hollywood's poverty row, shot in six days, filled with technical errors and ham-handed narrative, starring a man who can only pout and a woman who can only sneer, should have faded from sight soon after it was released in 1945. And yet it lives on, haunting and creepy, an embodiment of the guilty soul of film noir. No one who has seen it has easily forgotten it."

(Summary from Wikipedia)

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