The life of Al Roberts, a pianist in a New York nightclub, turns into a nightmare when he decides to hitchhike to Los Angeles to visit his girlfriend.
- Al Roberts: Tom Neal
- Vera: Ann Savage
- Sue Harvey: Claudia Drake
- Charles Haskell Jr.: Edmund MacDonald
- Diner Owner: Tim Ryan
- Holly: Esther Howard
- Joe: Pat Gleason
- Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
- Makeup Artist: Bud Westmore
- Editor: George McGuire
- Art Direction: Edward C. Jewell
- Novel: Martin Goldsmith
- Director of Photography: Benjamin H. Kline
- Associate Producer: Martin Mooney
- Producer: Leon Fromkess
- Original Music Composer: Leo Erdody
- Assistant Director: William A. Calihan Jr.
- Set Decoration: Glenn P. Thompson
- Costume Designer: Mona Barry
- Sound Engineer: Max M. Hutchinson
- Production Manager: Raoul Pager
- Dialogue Coach: Ben Coleman
- talisencrw: This was excellent. One of my very favourite film noirs–and at a fraction of the budget. It made me instantly want to see ALL of Ulmer’s films–as well as a lot more of Ann Savage. A priceless find for the adventurous cinephile.
- John Chard: Sleazy Nightmare!
Playing out as some kind of fate accompanied nightmare, Detour demands repeat viewings since the running time is so short it leaves you hankering for more come the end. We follow the protagonist Al Roberts on the road, and watch (with accompanied narration) a sequence of events that see him in the middle of nowhere at a diner fearing for his future.
Devilishly dark in tone, the film relies on a fine underplayed performance from Tom Neal as Roberts, and a gloriously annoying harpy femme fatale turn from Ann Savage as Vera. The film was made for next to nothing in only one week, and the whole film screams out as a low budget movie shot with a sleazy tint and less than stellar tech credits. Yet money can’t buy this type of atmospheric misery, where the vagaries of fate play their brutal film noir hands.
Upon release, it was just a poverty row “B” picture, and it passed by almost quietly. Unsurprisingly a few years later “French” cineastes picked up on it and as the years rolled by it has garnered critical reappraisals. So much so the likes of Scorsese and The Coen Brothers cottoned on and gleefully let the influence wash over them. Director was one Edgar G. Ulmer (“The Black Cat”, “Bluebeard”, “Strange Illusion”, “Ruthless”), and here he shows himself the master of low budgetary nous and devilish story telling. 9/10