Detour

1945

Detour

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 26

78%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,357
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Movie Info

Detour, called by many the ultimate "film noir," made on a shoe-string budget, and utilizing "night-for-night cinematography, creates a bleak, uncompromising, pessimistic nightmare world where its inhabitants can expect neither mercy, sympathy or justice. Al Roberts (Tom Neal) is the piano player in a sleazy New York nightclub. Sue (Claudia Drake) his girlfriend seeking stardom, leaves for Hollywood. Al follows, hitching a ride with a talkative, drug-addicted businessman who mysteriously dies during the trip. Al, frightened that he will be blamed for the death, hides the body in a ditch and assumes the businessman's identity. Needing company, Al picks up Vera (Ann Savage), a fellow hitchhiker who knows of Al's deception. Vera, hostile, agressive and with an annoying, nagging voice might be one of the most unbearably unpleasant female characters in a genre which celebrates wicked women. She blackmails Al, leading to one of the most memorable death scenes in film history. Directer Edgar G. Ulmer, limited to a six day shooting schedule, while crude and lacking in finesse, succeeds in creating a memorable, dark, nightmare world, uncaring, cynical and brutal. Detour is a bleak gem which has gained well-deserved cult status.

Cast

Tom Neal
as Al Roberts
Claudia Drake
as Sue Harvey
Edmund MacDonald
as Charles Haskell Jr
Tim Ryan
as Diner Proprietor
Don Brodie
as Used car salesman
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Critic Reviews for Detour

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (26)

Audience Reviews for Detour

  • Jul 13, 2014
    Pleasantly short and well-constructed, Detour may not be the most memorable work of film noir, however it is well-acted and features an intriguing plot. It's fun to watch and follow, especially due to Savage's great performance.
    Matthew Samuel M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 28, 2014
    In one strange sequence a piano player, our downtrodden hero, lays down classical chops only the long hairs at Carnegie Hall could appreciate in front of a dive nightclub crowd that's barely awake. Even our hero seems not to care, and there's the charm of this nightmare: when he says or thinks "nobody cares" he's right, like a slow walk to the bathroom to slit your wrists. The dialogue is beautiful, the ending too quick, too pat, but the whole is like a two-year-old's pout dramatised. Visceral stuff.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 12, 2013
    Thanks to Edgar G. Ulmer for causing in us suspension of disbelief: unbelievably bad luck had never been so entertaining. Respects go to Ann Savage for being a total menace, like if it was in her nature! 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2012
    This is such a shame. What makes "Detour" ultimately unimpressive is its second half, which falls apart with the arrival of Ann Savage's character. This is honestly one of the most unlikable performances I think I've ever seen. To be so unnecessarily over the top is just uncalled for. Tom Neal does an excellent job at creating a character that we can sympathize with, but there are times where Savage is so bad that she threatens to lessen the impact of his performance. And it's just a real shame. "Detour" has such a great opening half hour that it seems destined for greatness, but sadly, it just can't keep the momentum going.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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