HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
   
 
Newest Articles
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
   
 
  Detour Sweet Misery Of Life
Year: 1945
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald, Tim Ryan, Esther Howard, Pat Gleason
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Sometimes you never can tell which way life is going to turn. You may not be doing great now, but count your blessings for the fickle finger of fate can pin you to the ground if you're not careful. Take the case of this poor sap, Al Roberts (Tom Neal), who used to be a piano player in a dingy New York nightclub while his girlfriend, Sue (Claudia Drake) sang. Songs like the one on the jukebox of this middle of nowhere diner Al is sitting in now, and as he can't get anyone to turn it off he'll have to bear it, and the memories of his downfall it brings...

Of all the B movies produced in the United States from the thirties onwards, and I mean the true B movies which acted as a support to the main feature, a little film noir called Detour is one of the most celebrated. This work has stuck in the mind of generations of filmwatchers ever since its release around the end of the Second World War, probably because it is a hard luck story irresistable in its bleakness. Martin Goldsmith adapted his own novel here, and with it brought hitherto unrealised depths of bitterness to the big screen along with some of the best hardboiled dialogue you'll ever hear.

Yes, the vitriol postively oozes from this frame as the hapless Al is driven to depair by what he believes is a run of some of the worst ever luck to afflict a human being. However, there are two schools of thought on how to approach this outlook, either that fate really does have it in for him, or that he has effectively created his own bad luck and was the unwitting master of his own destiny all along, an even crueller point of view. The truth lies somewhere in between, as some of the degradation he suffers is his own fault, but he cannot be responsible for the people he met along his journey.

And specifically one person, the genre's scariest femme fatale who even Al cannot fall for such is her venom. She is Vera (Ann Savage), who Al picks up as she is hitchhiking, which would have been fine if it had been his car and he was who he was pretending to be... but this is not the case. Deciding to hitch across America to Hollywood to follow his girlfriend, who it is strongly implied has a hard luck story of her own to tell, he was picked up by one Haskell (Edmund MacDonald), a con artist whose double dealing went unnoticed by Al when he seemed to be looking after his new companion. One opening of a car door in the rain later, and Al is a wanted man.

Assuming Haskell's identity to cover up the accident is just one way of how the script places the hero in positions which look from the outside to be deeply suspicious, something he is all too aware of and he ties himself in knots trying to keep his appearance seeming unblemished, all in vain. Vera knows this, and now has him over a barrel of blackmail; Savage lives up to her name here as you can see how she could be attractive, but her nightmare personality and those blazing eyes transform her into an unforgettable harpy who anyone sensible would cross the road to avoid. It helps Detour's cult that it was directed by one of the original low budget auteurs, Edgar G. Ulmer, and he works wonders on tiny resources. In truth, the "pity me" story is laid on far too thick to be believable and excusing it through blaming fate doesn't quite convince, but that oppressive air of dejection is quite something; almost surreal. Music by Leo Erdody.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3079 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: