This 1945 film is a brief but memorable contribution to the glory days of film noir. Info
This semester’s UW Cinematheque schedule features a series of several films Universal Pictures released between 1928 and 1936, a diverse and fruitful period for that studio. While Edgar G. Ulmer's steely 1945 noir Detour is not part of this specific retrospective, it's got some thematic kinship with it, in that it's a great film that belies its low budget and boasts rich black-and-white cinematography.
Tom Neal stars as Al Roberts, a struggling pianist in New York City whose girlfriend is pursuing an acting career in California. He decides to hitchhike west to meet up with her. He gets into a convertible with one Charles Haskell Jr. (played by Edmund MacDonald). An unexpected tragedy befalls the two during this trip and Roberts is faced with an ordeal that will have him regretting every decision he has made that led him up to this point.
Detour's runtime on the is only 68 minutes, but it is worth every minute to see Ann Savage’s performance as the vituperative, scheming hitchhiker Vera, whose only goal is to turn the other characters' misfortunes to her own advantage. The narrative and tight script keep the film moving at a good clip. It can feel claustrophobic at times, with Savage and Neal having to carry most of the film, but this a great introduction into American film noir for those who are unfamiliar with the genre. —Edwanike Harbour