Saturday, 17 July 2010
Edgar G. Ulmer’s B-Noir classic Detour had one of the most alluring and “noirish” premises of all noir films, and that’s saying a lot given the number of incredible masterpieces belonging to this distinctive school of 40’s and 50’s American filmmaking. Roberts, a washed out honky-tonk player, while hitchhiking his way from New York to Los Angeles to meet his girlfriend, is given a ride by a friendly gambler. However, when he suddenly drops dead for no reason, Roberts gets rid of the body and starts driving the car impersonating as the dead man. But luck runs only so far for him as he inadvertently offers ride to a mysterious wild-cat of a lady who suddenly blurts out, “What did you do with the body?”, and blackmails him into trying to rob the dead gambler’s rich, aged father. As any noir-lover worth his two cents would know, things can only go downhill thereon for our hapless protagonist. Shot in a mere 6 days, the movie’s collar-grabbing storyboard was unfortunately largely undone by the largely unimpressive performances of its two leads. The shabby production design too hurts the eyes, though they do add to the inherent sleaziness of the proceedings. What thus really gets the interest going is the sense of fatalism that pervades nearly every single frame right till the bleak climax – the film, like every noir worth watching, remains an apotheosis of Murky’s Law and the kind of irony it embodies.
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Genre: Crime Drama/Film Noir/Road Movie