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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You know, there oughta be a law against dames with claws!" Al Roberts (Tom Neal) couldn't agree more
"That's life," says two-bit loser Al Roberts. "Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you." Roberts, played by Tom Neal, is the whining, complaining protagonist in Detour, one of the worst, and best, pulp noirs you'll ever enjoy. And if Roberts doesn't have a good moment in any of the film's 67 minutes, you will if you get a kick out of pulp fiction so...
Published on 13 Jan 2008 by C. O. DeRiemer

versus
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Detour" the Cockroach Edition
This DVD edition was done by cokroaches I suspect. The digital
transfer has a quality much lower than the multitude of illegal
copies that you can download using BitTorrent.

Editions like this make the pirate bay look like editors of the
Criterion Collection. Let me just enumerate some items to ponder upon:

1. Frame rate is somewhere...
Published on 12 Feb 2009 by perusio


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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Detour" the Cockroach Edition, 12 Feb 2009
By 
perusio (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Detour [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD edition was done by cokroaches I suspect. The digital
transfer has a quality much lower than the multitude of illegal
copies that you can download using BitTorrent.

Editions like this make the pirate bay look like editors of the
Criterion Collection. Let me just enumerate some items to ponder upon:

1. Frame rate is somewhere in the vicinity of the silent movie era
frame rate, probably around 18/20 fps.

2. Interlacing problems. Is seems to have been bootlegged from a 720i
digital tv feed.

3. Video-audio synch problems.

4. No menus.

5. No extra features.

6. In Linux mplayer refused to read the DVD. Only VLC or xine will
take it.

Thing like this happen when the people selling the rights do not have
the authors best interest in mind. They're just after a quick
buck. Let those who come after worry. Not even the rights holders
best interests are served. They gave permission for this company of
cockroach DVD editors to botch up a great film. Originally the film
was done on the cheap by a poverty row studio. That doesn't mean that
it must have an underdog DVD edition like the present.

It's a great film. A true classic. Get it in a decent edition.

Stay away from this cockroach edition by the "Pickwick Group" &
"Elstree Hill Entertaiment".

I surely will avoid any of their other offerings. I do have great
respect for cockroaches, the insects. They have their place in the
gene pool. But companies like the "Pickwick Group" &
"Elstree Hill Entertaiment" have no place in the free market. If this
DVD edition isn't a scam, then surely I will need to revise my notion
of it.

I hope Amazon give them the boot. They're costing them money. I just
printed my return label. It's a returner.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You know, there oughta be a law against dames with claws!" Al Roberts (Tom Neal) couldn't agree more, 13 Jan 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Detour [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
"That's life," says two-bit loser Al Roberts. "Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you." Roberts, played by Tom Neal, is the whining, complaining protagonist in Detour, one of the worst, and best, pulp noirs you'll ever enjoy. And if Roberts doesn't have a good moment in any of the film's 67 minutes, you will if you get a kick out of pulp fiction so ripe it'll remind you of how old Charles Haskell's corpse is. Roberts, a piano player in a New York nightclub, was hitch hiking to L.A. to reunite with the woman he loves, his girlfriend Sue. When Haskell stops and gives him a ride, then dies of a heart attack, Roberts makes the first of many bad decisions. Haskell had several hundred in his wallet and three big, raw scratches on one hand. Wouldn't you know it, after ditching the body, taking the cash, the car and Haskell's identity, Roberts winds up stopping to pick up a hitchhiker...who turns out to be the dame who gave Haskell those scratches. "Man, she looked like she'd just been thrown off the crummiest freight train in the world," Roberts says. We can see for ourselves. Vera (Ann Savage) is tough as nails. She's a tramp. She's poison. She knows Roberts isn't Haskell. She sets a hook in Roberts' mouth and pulls him around from one scheme to the next to get money. When Roberts finally resists...well, see the movie.

How can a film be so bad yet be so satisfying? It was shot by Edgar Ulmer in only six days on a tiny budget and looks it. Ulmer probably paid more for all that rear screen projection than he did for the actors. Neal and Savage are barely even B-level quality. The movie is hardly more than an hour long. And yet...

First, the movie moves quickly. There is absolutely no wasted time, even when Ulmer is padding out a few shots. Second, Tom Neal is perfectly cast. He has a petulant, greasy face and a plump, weak mouth. Neal was not a sympathetic or likable actor. In what career he had, which wasn't much, he usually was at his best whining or playing bullies. Here, he's just weak. His career was effectively over when he beat Franchot Tone nearly to a pulp over a bimbo actress named Barbara Payton. A few years later he married and then was accused of murdering his wife with a gunshot to the head. He spent several years in prison on a manslaughter conviction and died of a heart attack a few months after he was released. Not much to admire here. Ann Savage is so over the top as the tough Vera that we sometimes do a double take over how she handles her dialogue. Still, the two of them, perhaps inadvertently, do full justice to the concept of Detour as full-bodied pulp fiction. Third, the script is great. Pulp, when it works, is sleazy, dirty entertainment. That's Detour. Neal and Savage make this fatalistic pulp cartoon vivid, not by how skilled they are, but by how well they meet the conventions of pulp action. Fourth, let's hear it for Edgar Ulmer. Some of Ulmer's films -- Strange Illusion, The Strange Woman, for example -- are fun to watch but none of them, in my view, are worth spending too much time thinking about. Like Val Lewton, Ulmer was a man of limited talent who could sometimes squeeze more interest out of so little to work with that one has to admire his persistence. He certainly sets up Vera's fate with style, even though Roberts' fate seems perfunctory to me.

No one, I hope, would call Detour a great film. In my opinion, it's not even a great noir. But it succeeds as great pulp fiction. When that highway comes on the screen, when we see the credits and when we start to hear Al Robert's voice-over, we know we're in for a cheap, sleazy ride...and an entertaining one, too.

Detour is in the public domain, so it's buyer beware. The DVD I have is watchable. I've heard that the Region 1 version put out by Image is in fairly good shape.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edgar G. Ulmer's "Poverty Row" B-Movie Classic Film Noir, 23 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Detour [VHS] (VHS Tape)
"Detour" was the first classic B-movies from "Poverty Row" to be selected for the U.S. National Film Registry in 1992. Director Edgar G. Ulmer had no money and made up for the film's economic shortcomings with some rather impressive innovative visual techniques. The story is of Al Roberts (Tom Neal), a young piantist who is hitchhiking across the country and becomes involved in two murders he did not commit because he is, well, pretty stupid. However, Al just thinks that he is unlucky, saying at one point: "That's life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you." Yeah, right. Ann Savage steals the film as Vera, the femme fatale who hops a ride with Al and turns out to be one of the most unpleasant creatures even see in a film. "Detour" combines a lurid plotline and visual creativity to create a unqiue film noir classic. If you enjoy the genre and have not yet stumbled across this one, then you should make an effort to track it down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Startling film noir, 1 April 2009
By 
Humpty Dumpty (Wall St, Upton Snodsbury) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Detour [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
There are several fascinating things about this film, and in a way the fun begins once you've watched it and if you are drawn to find out a little about its making and makers.

The movie comes in a very poor DVD print - grainy and gloomy. But bear with it as in a way the strange subject matter is almost improved by the lousy print.

This B-movie was shot in six days with a budget of approximately $20,000, and we are told that scenes left over from other films (and even included in them) were used here to keep down costs. The director Edgar Ulmer found footage of the eastbound Los Angeles to New York highway, and decided to use it in the scenes where Tom Neal picks up the hitchhiking Ann Savage and then drives on. As Neal was heading west to LA, the film had to be flipped over to show the reverse; this caused the cars to appear to be driving on the wrong side of the road, and the hitchhiker to enter the car on the driver's side. But still Ulmer used the footage!

Tom Neal, the co-star, was an actor of little talent and unpleasant habits - drunken, violent and abusive. On set he was more than once disciplined for groping female members of cast and crew. A dumb, nasty piece of work you think - and then you read that at 24 he was awarded a law degree from Harvard University! Well worth checking out his wikipedia entry.

Ann Savage, the other co-star (who died on Christmas Day 2008), never built on her success here as the movie quickly passed into oblivion until it was picked up decades later as a film noir B-movie classic. She dropped out of motion pictures and took office work. In 1983, she attended a screening of Detour held as a tribute to director Edgar Ulmer. Ulmer's widow was saying in a Q/A session that she had no idea what had happened to Savage, whereupon a half-remembered voice came loud and clear from the back of the cinema: "I'm right here!"

The film itself is a classic exposition of film noir - creepy atmosphere, tasks undertaken that seem doomed from the start, dislikeable characters, impure motives, harsh lighting. But really its status is all about Ann Savage. From her extraordinary introduction when Neal stops to pick her up, she burns with an energy that consumes him and the viewer as she plays with and humiliates him. It's fitting that Neal never manages to quell her since her demise is a clumsy accident.

Just a bravura acting performance that takes the breath away. Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting film, abysmal DVD, 27 April 2008
By 
A. Craig "musician and coward" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Detour [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
My low rating is not for the film itself, but for this DVD release. It is transfered from a pretty damaged print, with scratches and marks in most scenes and even a few missing frames and dropouts in sound. What's worse, there are no subtitles, so I have no way of finding out what lines I missed other than searching online for the script. Most disappointing, a cult classic deserves better treatment.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A low-budget film noir classic, 10 Sep 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Detour [VHS] (VHS Tape)
1945's Detour is not only one of your truly vintage film noir classics of all-time, it is also ranked by many among the best low-budget films ever made, largely due to the memorable performances of Tom Neal and Ann Savage. The directorial slant which frames the story is dead on, and one has to think that a larger budget would probably have done more harm than good to this gritty, realistic, film noir tour de force. Tom Neal plays Al Roberts, one of those unfortunate men who was born both stupid and incredibly unlucky. Shortly after his girl Sue up and goes to California looking for stardom, Roberts decides to go west and join her, hitchhiking his way across the country. This one fellow picks him up in Arizona and says he will take him all the way to L.A.; then the guy has the audacity to keel over dead. Afraid he will be accused of murdering the guy, Roberts decides to hide the body, take the guy's money, and assume his identity until such time as he can ditch the car in a big city. Then he himself picks up a hitchhiker, a woman who ends up being the last person on earth he would ever have wanted to encounter. Vera (Savage) know that Roberts is not the man he claims to be, and Roberts quickly finds himself quite at the mercy of this shrew of a woman. Her greed knows no bounds, and Roberts' life becomes more and more complicated and unhappy by the hour.
Ann Savage's character Vera is perhaps the most blunt, cold, evil, wholly unlikable woman I have ever heard tell of. It is quite easy to see why the man we meet in the opening scene is as hateful and short-tempered as he is. As we flash back to the whole story of Roberts' hard times, accompanied by plenty of voiceover narration, one cannot help but feel sorry for the guy. His initial decision to cover up the death of the guy who picked him up is a bad, undeniably stupid, mistake, but he certainly does not deserve the level of vitriol and pure evil that afflicts him in the form of Vera. The ending is a tiny bit flat, but the story itself is fascinating and the performances of Neal and Savage are not to be missed. Detour is vintage film noir and should not be missed by any and all fans of the genre.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe a word Al (Tom Neal) tells you., 19 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Detour [VHS] (VHS Tape)
DETOUR, released in 1945, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and starring Tom Neal and the fabulously named Ann Savage has to be viewed with care. Tom Neal (Al) is in love with a cabaret singer and she, according to Al, is in love with him. The romance between Al and Sue, though talked about, is never seen. There feelings and plans are interpreted by the Neal character. But why does what he tells us have yo be the truth. On a first viewing the film appears to be about a man trapped by circumstance and bad timing. Or is it. Al, narrating in the first person, proceeds from one calamity to another. He is broke, hitches a ride, witnesses a man falling out of a car. He decides (rationally or not) to hide the body, take on the character of the dead man and carry on to California. On the road he meets another hitchhiker Vera (Ann Savage) who just happens to be the dead mans 'friend'! Throughout the films short length Al goes from one disaster to another culminating in the 'accidental' strangulation of Vera. So far so good. On one level the film can be viewed as a straightforward everyman going from coincidence to coincidence but, to this reviewer, the words 'unreliable narrative' spring to mind. I give this film 5 stars for one reason...Ulmer has taken a poverty row project and turned it around. Nothing that Al says is to be believed. His description of the deaths of Vera and Haskell are highly suspect. Why do we have to believe him? Under the guise of bog standard thriller Ulmer has devised a multi-layered, intellectual experience. At the films end, Al relaates his story to the police. But does he? Which parts of this film are true or just lies to make the 'hero' look good. Ulmer has created a world of light and shade and created a film that is almost impossible not to look at as well as a connundrum that does not end with the final credits. Viewed today the film appears old and tired but turn your mind around and don't believe a word Al says. He can't be trusted. Open your mind to the lies. DETOUR.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Film Review Only, 23 Mar 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Detour [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
Sleazy nightmare!

Playing out as some kind of nightmare, Detour demands repeat viewings since its running time is so short it leaves you hankering for more come the end. We follow the protagonist Al Roberts on the road, and watch (with accompanied narration) a sequence of events that see him in the middle of nowhere at a diner fearing for his future.

Devilishly dark in tone, the film relies on a fine underplayed performance from Tom Neal as Roberts, and a gloriously annoying turn from Ann Savage as Vera. The film was made for next to nothing in only one week, and the whole film screams out as a low budget movie shot with a sleazy tint, but it fits perfectly for the genre, and although it took me two viewings to fully get onside with it, the film is an essential viewing for those interested in film noir. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, poor quality, 1 Jan 2012
By 
Kuma "kuma" (Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Detour [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
One of the better films from "King of The B's" Edgar G Ulmer, Detour is a classic film knocked out on a tiny budget in 6 days, but holds its own and then some with bigger budget fare. Particularly of note is Ann Savage's performance as Vera, the gorgon en route to LA picked up by Tom Neal on his downward spiral of fate.
Beware however, the quality of this DVD is truly horrendous and if you can find another edition of it go for that one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars film noir, 15 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Detour [1945] [DVD] (DVD)
Film Noir is still wonderfui to watch after 50 years or so, great charismatic acting and super monochrome photography captures the mood
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Detour [DVD] [1945] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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