Feature Film Showcase – Detour (1945)

“Movies… For Free!”, showcasing classic movies that have fallen out of copyright and are available freely from the public domain (with streaming video!)


Detour, 1945.

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer.
Starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage.

Detour is narrated by Al (Neal), a piano player hitchhiking to California who receives a lift from the wealthy Charles Haskell Jr. (Edmund MacDonald). Stopping in a rainstorm, Al discovers that Haskell has died and quickly steal his car along with his money, clothes and identification. Al later picks up another hitchhiker – femme-fatale Vera (Savage) – and when the pair discover that Haskell was in line to collect a large inheritance, Vera encourages Al to assume his identity and collect on the payout.

The third of three film noirs made by director Edgar G. Ulmer (The Black Cat, 1934) on behalf of ‘poverty row‘ studio Producers Releasing Corporation – the others being Bluebeard (1944) and Strange Illusion (1945) – and shot in just six days, Detour has managed to overcome its technical shortcomings and rise from b-movie status to cult classic, having been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1992, while it also appears on Time Magazine’s list of All Time 100 Movies.



Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.

Related:

The Stranger (1946, dir. Orson Welles)
D.O.A. (1950, dir. Rudolph Maté)
Suddenly (1954, dir. Lewis Allen)
Five Minutes to Live (1961, dir. Bill Karn)

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