Detour (1945)

67-69 mins | Film noir | 30 November 1945

Director:

Edgar G. Ulmer

Producer:

Leon Fromkess

Cinematographer:

Benjamin Kline

Editor:

George McGuire

Production Designer:

Edward C. Jewell

Production Company:

PRC Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Contemporary reviews noted the effective atmosphere that director Edgar G. Ulmer achieved on a limited budget, and the film is considered by many modern sources to be a major example of film noir. According to modern sources, the film was shot in six days for a budget of $30,000. In the late 1950s, star Tom Neal was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his wife and spent several years in prison. Detour was remade in 1992 by Wade Williams and starred Tom Neal, ... More Less

Contemporary reviews noted the effective atmosphere that director Edgar G. Ulmer achieved on a limited budget, and the film is considered by many modern sources to be a major example of film noir. According to modern sources, the film was shot in six days for a budget of $30,000. In the late 1950s, star Tom Neal was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his wife and spent several years in prison. Detour was remade in 1992 by Wade Williams and starred Tom Neal, Jr. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Nov 1945.
---
Daily Variety
29 Oct 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Mar 46
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 45
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 45
p. 3, 9
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Jul 45
p. 2543.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Nov 45
p. 2709.
Variety
23 Jan 46
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Scr and orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Ward des
MUSIC
Mus score
MAKEUP
Dir of makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Detour: An Extraordinary Tale by Martin Goldsmith (New York, 1939).
SONGS
"I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me," music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Clarence Gaskill.
DETAILS
Release Date:
30 November 1945
Production Date:
14--29 June 1945
Copyright Claimant:
PRC Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 November 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13599
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
67-69
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
11048
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Al Roberts becomes extremely upset when a customer in the diner where he is having a cup of coffee plays a song that reminds him of his past: In New York, Al, a piano player in a nightclub, is in love with singer Sue Harvey. Al wants to marry Sue, but although she loves him, Sue declares that she intends to seek fame in Hollywood first. Some time later, Al is given a large tip and calls Sue in California. Learning that she is working as a waitress, he impulsively decides to hitchhike west to join her. In Arizona, a man named Charles Haskell offers him a ride to Los Angeles. When Al notices deep scratches on Haskell's hand, Haskell explains that a woman to whom he had given a ride scratched him after he made a sexual advance. That night, while Al is driving, it starts to rain. Al is unable to rouse the sleeping Haskell and stops to raise the top on the convertible. When Al opens the passenger-side door, Haskell falls out and hits his head. Convinced that he will be blamed for Haskell's death, Al hides the body and steals his money and identification. After he crosses the California state line, an exhausted Al checks into a motel to sleep. On the road again, Al offers a ride to a woman hitchhiker, who tells him her name is Vera. Once they are under way, Vera asks Al what he has done with Haskell's body, revealing that she was the woman who scratched his hand. Threatening to expose Al to the police, Vera forces him to ... +


Al Roberts becomes extremely upset when a customer in the diner where he is having a cup of coffee plays a song that reminds him of his past: In New York, Al, a piano player in a nightclub, is in love with singer Sue Harvey. Al wants to marry Sue, but although she loves him, Sue declares that she intends to seek fame in Hollywood first. Some time later, Al is given a large tip and calls Sue in California. Learning that she is working as a waitress, he impulsively decides to hitchhike west to join her. In Arizona, a man named Charles Haskell offers him a ride to Los Angeles. When Al notices deep scratches on Haskell's hand, Haskell explains that a woman to whom he had given a ride scratched him after he made a sexual advance. That night, while Al is driving, it starts to rain. Al is unable to rouse the sleeping Haskell and stops to raise the top on the convertible. When Al opens the passenger-side door, Haskell falls out and hits his head. Convinced that he will be blamed for Haskell's death, Al hides the body and steals his money and identification. After he crosses the California state line, an exhausted Al checks into a motel to sleep. On the road again, Al offers a ride to a woman hitchhiker, who tells him her name is Vera. Once they are under way, Vera asks Al what he has done with Haskell's body, revealing that she was the woman who scratched his hand. Threatening to expose Al to the police, Vera forces him to take an apartment and sell Haskell's car. Before the sale can be completed, however, Vera tells Al that Haskell's millionaire father is dying and suggests that he impersonate Haskell. Al refuses, pointing out that he knows nothing about Haskell's family or his life, but Vera continues to insist. That night, in their apartment, Vera and Al get very drunk and quarrel. To prevent Al from telephoning for help, Vera takes the phone in the bedroom and drunkenly falls on the bed with the phone cord wrapped around her neck. From outside the bedroom door, Al pulls on the cord, accidentally killing Vera. Al knows that the police will never believe his story and sneaks out of town. He can never return to New York or to Los Angeles and Sue. Instead, he must keep moving, knowing that someday he will be caught. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.