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Total Count: 26


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,349
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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.

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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)

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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