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Detour

USA 1945
produced by
Leon Fromkess for PRC
directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
starring Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald, Tim Ryan, Esther Howard, Pat Gleason
written by Martin Goldsmith, based on his novel, music by Leo Erdody

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Bar pianist Al Roberts (Tom Neal), a nice cleancut all-American boy is in love with singer Sue (Claudia Drake), & she with him ... so far so good. But then she wants to move from New York to LA to try her luck in hollywood, whichleaves him, staying behind heartbroken ... until after a few weeks, he decides to go to La too, just to be with her. But as his money is hardly enough for the food he needs on the journey, he has to hitchhike his way across the continent .. & at first doesn't run nito too much good luck.

Then Al runs into Haskell (Edmund MacDonald), who goes all the way through to LA & seems a nice enough fellow, even inviting Al to a few meals, his only condition that Al drives for part of the way ...

Then, by a freak accident, Al makes Haskell bump his head and die. It was an accident, nothing more, but for everyone else it must look like murder, & Al can't prove himself innocent. So he decides to assume Haskell's identity, steal his money & car & drive to LA where it is easy to lose the car.

At first, al is of course totally worked up by what had happened, until he goes through Haskell's things & learns he was a con-man who was planning to even cheat his own father out of some cash. That calms Al down a bit, in fact so much so that he decides to take a hitchhiker, Vera (Ann Savage), with him ... only what he doesn't know is that Vera  had know Haskell & pretty much guesses that he has robbed Haskell & murdered him (& of course she doesn't believe him that it wasn't murder). So she figures she got him in her hands & can make quite a bit of money off him, always threatening to betray him to the cops ...

She forces him to give him all the money Haskell had, to rent an appartment with her as Mr & Mrs Haskell, and to the next day sell the car (which she claims to be inerest, because if the cops find a lost car, they are bound to make inquiries). & even though he is now in Hollywood, Al feels further away from Sue than ever ...

But it's all over once the car is sold, Vera tells him ... only to when the deal's almost done, back out of it - because she has learned Haskell's dad is terminally ill, & with Al posing as Haskell alittle longer, they could get the old man's considerable inheritance ...

Al refuses outright, Vera again threatens to cal the cops, & somehow (another accident) her head gets caught in the telephone cable when he starts to pull, pull real hard ... & again just by a freak accident he has killed a person, again he didn't want to, but again nobody will believe him.

He can't go to New York, he can't stay in LA, so he hits the road again as a wornout hitchhiker, always knowing that one day a car he hasn't hitched will stop - the police delivering him straight to death row.

 

Many films of the B-production house PRC had a production line look to it (that could in cases still be quite charming), mainly because they were produced a dime a dozen, but not this one. A six-day shooting schedule & a tiny budget did not keep director extraordinaire Edgar G.Ulmer from turning out one of the most effective film noir crime dramas of its time that gets by without any form of big spectacle (no chases, no action, no nothing), instead relies on an excellent story & a direction that uses its limited budget to the best of effects.

Highest recommendation.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD