Posted in Tale As Old As Time

Detour (1945)

In a small roadside diner, Al Roberts (Tom Neal) sits at the counter drinking his coffee. His dishevelled state tells us he’s in no hurry to leave the place but the kind of guy who also doesn’t want to sit around for a chat. A fellow customer at the diner puts a dime into the jukebox, playing some worthy jazz which makes Al snap. “That tune!” His face suddenly wore a look from bad to worse, as it reminds him of something he’d rather forget. Following him around, beating him up inside, we take a hitchhiking trip down memory lane through the eyes of Al.

In a smoke screen clouded room of entertainment, the people gather to watch Sue Harvey (Claudia Drake) and Al Roberts play their musical number –I can’t believe that you’re in love with me. It was a sure kickstarter by popular demand, and Sue was always selling it too. Granted, there was only so much joy a guy could muster up on stage, when deep down they hated the working hours of playing the same old tunes in a cheap night club, though Al figured having Sue around made working there a little like Heaven.

Things were sombre and after working hours, the pair without much appetite, take a stroll down home where Sue informs Al that “I wanna try my luck in Hollywood”, and so with a quick peck goodbye, it came to be that the music had died that night in Al’s heart. His fingers continued to play the miserable hours of the honky- tonk tunes without his sweetheart, as his face played a tune of a different kind. It earned him ten bucks which didn’t excite him all that much, “a piece of paper crawling with germs”. He decided he was going to change his course and with a phonecall to Sue, he was ready to take a plane, bus, train..heck a magic carpet ride! you name it, if it meant he could get out of border and marry his gal.

Desperate times called for desperate measures for a man who had very little to lose, but ends up with his life at stake when he decides to give nod to a hitch out of Arizona. An incident occurs which puts him at haste to leave a crime scene, at the very hands of a detour to Calfornia. A little nap time later, it turns out to be more of a bumpy ride when Al picks up the mysterious hitchhiker- Vera (Anne savage). A young woman who has the sharpest tongue that could cut a man’s dignity in half. There’s alot Vera knew and alot she could do, as her blackmailing abuse set ablaze Al’s sanity of being a ‘cheap crook’ and she often reminded him that any funny buisness meant ” you’ll pop into jail so fast, it’ll give you the bends”.

I sure know how to pick em..

It’s hard to believe that Edgar G.Ulmer had directed this movie within a very short space of time ; an interview stating he had shot it in six days with quite a low budget. The cast was unfamiliar though remarkably well portrayed, and flaws could be later analysed with technicalities, but it proved to become something special. With a sharp, bold dialogue, the script took hold of power to become worthy of more than just a B movie to date.

It’s narrated in the way I like to read my hardboiled noir, well paced and well versed, emboding the thriller and mystery, wrapped up in a well executed murder. It lives on to see a broken man walk a hot mile without much money. “It’s the stuff you never have enough of..little green things with George Washington’s picture that men slave for..commit crimes for..die for”, not knowing what the squeal of a brake could have in store for him.

Directed by : Edgar G. Ulmer

Screenplay Written by : Martin Goldsmith – Adapted from his novel Detour: An Extraordinary Tale (1939)

Starring : Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald

Music composed by : Leo Erdody



A Mademoiselle living in the U.K Born in the late 80's with a vintage heart. My blog is made up of my thoughts; be it through the eyes of a great movie, the chapters of a book or in the hands of a game and other ideas that set my mind apart.. here on an open platform to share with the rest of the world. Won't you join me..

18 thoughts on “Detour (1945)

    1. Thank you Pete. It really is a wonderful movie and feels quintessentially noir and one I’m sure you’d enjoy. Edgar has directed many others that I hope to watch someday. I believe you can find this movie in the public domain of Youtube as I have seen a few uploaded in decent quality.

      Sincerely Sonea x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Super review Sonea of one really exciting and enjoyable film. I got to see it last year and I was buzzing after. Anne Savage was a pure delight with a her crazy angry blasts and our poor Al. Reading your post makes me wanna see it all again 🙂
    I did a write up too if you wanted to see what my thoughts on the film were.
    So happy discovering all these “new” films. All the best. Wolfie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it just wonderful. I’m glad I came across this gem of a movie and more glad to hear you also reviewed it. I’ll be sure to hitch-hike my way to your article and thank you very much for appreciating my take on it Mikey.

      Sincerely Sonea

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Alex. I’m glad you enjoyed my take on the movie. Yes it’s such an impressive and no doubt challenging shoot of a short time. Upon watching it, it seemed to wash over me, the fact it was regarded as a budget movie for how wonderfully it has been made.

      Sincerely Sonea


  2. As always it’s a pleasure to read your wonderful prose. Detour is a little known film, but it is a lot of twisted fun with some truly great moments and a healthy sense of doom. Its story is more than a little implausible, but the emotional devastation that results from these coincidences and mishaps is utterly believable and raw. Such a fantastic movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you Paul, for enjoying what I had to write. It’s a wonderful ‘diamond in the rough’ kind of movie that I’m glad I viewed. I’m glad you’ve seen it too and You say it rather well with its ‘twisted fun and healthy sense of doom’.

      Sincerely Sonea


  3. This was an extremely good film and you’ve written quite an excellent review, Sonea.
    Ann Savage certainly made quite the femme fatale who seemed to delight in verbally castrating a man with her sharp scissors of a tongue.
    I was watching her in another Film Noir on YouTube last night Apology For Murder from 1945 where her character was another domineering and verbally castrating femme fatale.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post 🙂 Speaking of the late great Ann Savage, did you know that even though Detour bought her a lot of fame as time went on, that fame seemed to finally cemented itself officially shortly before she died. In fact, she had something of a major part in Guy Maddin’s 2007 film My Winnipeg, which would be her last film before her death the following year. Rumor has it that some lovers of My Winnipeg tried to petition for her to be Oscar nominated. Interesting isn’t it? Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much John. Yes it certainly is interesting to hear. I did a little research shortly after watching the film. I had not heard much about her until her role in this very given role. She would have rightly deserved an Oscar. Thank you for letting me know more.

      Sincerely Sonea

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s