New York Times - 07/03/1992
"...DETOUR really is some kind of great movie....One of the defining films of the seductive genre the French critics called film noir..."
USA Today - 09/29/2000
"...One of the most revered 'B' cheapies..."
Low budget director Edgar G. Ulmer cemented his reputation with this downbeat film noir masterpiece. It has since inspired countless filmmakers. The use of minimal sets and rear-screen projection gives a feeling of a claustrophobic nightmare as Al (Tom Neal) a down-and-out piano player, hitchhikes from New York to Los Angeles in order to be with his singer girlfriend (Claudia Drake). Fate has other plans for Al when he steps into the car of a character named Haskel (Edmund MacDonald), who promptly dies in his sleep one night while Al is driving. Afraid the cops will never believe the truth, Al takes Haskell's money, car, and identity, and tries to make it to Los Angeles, only to have fate intervene again when he picks up a mean-spirited female hitchhiker (Ann Savage).
This film is short, cramped and breathtaking, with no pause in its relentless rhythm of despair. Tom Neal's performance as the man snared in a web of fate is raw and real. Ann Savage is fierce. Ulmer's direction is hallucinatory and amazing. From a script by mystery writer Martin Goldsmith, this film demands repeat viewing by any serious student of cinema, or lover of movies.
Description by Image Entertainment:
Suspense as startling as a strangled scream! This is it, the defining motion picture in all of "film noir," written by Academy Award-nominee Martin Goldsmith (The Narrow Margin) and directed by legendary B-movie maker Edgar G. Ulmer (Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, The Black Cat). Tom Neal (The Brute Man, The Pride of the Yankees), handsome 1940's leading man, brings to thrilling life a down-on-his-luck nightclub performer who takes one wrong turn and picks up the meanest femme fatale in all of "noir," played to perfection by the incomparable Ann Savage (The Dark Horse, The Spider) in one of the most powerful and riveting performances ever recorded on celluloid.
Cult Film |
Essential Cinema |
Film Noir |
DETOUR was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1992.