Tagline – He went searching for love…but Fate forced a DETOUR to Revelry…Violence… Mystery!
Starring – Tom Neal (Al Roberts), Ann Savage (Vera), Claudia Drake (Sue Harvey), Edmund MacDonald (Charles Haskell, Jr.).
Released – November, 1945
Directed By – Edgar G. Ulmer
Produced By – Producers Releasing Corporation
Distributed By – Producers Releasing Corporation
Description – New York nightclub piano player Al Roberts wants to join up with his girl in California. A bit down-on-his-luck, but with a few bucks obtained from a generous tip, Al decides to hitchhike. Getting as far as Arizona hasn’t proven to be a problem, but now fate will become his traveling companion.
Al is picked up in a convertible owned by Charles Haskell, Jr. who offers to take him all the way to Los Angeles. During the ride, Al notices some recent deep scratches on Haskell’s hand and asks him about them. Haskell laughs the scratches off claiming they are the result of an unsuccessful flirtation with a woman hitchhiker.
That evening, to give Haskell a break, Al takes over the wheel while Haskell gets some sleep. It begins to rain and Al pulls to the side of the road in order to raise the top on the convertible. When opening the passenger-side door, Haskell falls out hitting his head on the pavement.
Haskell is dead, and Al, with some skeletons in his closet, is convinced that an investigation will only point the finger at him for the death. He decides to hide the body, takes Haskell’s cash, and assumes his identity.
After spending the night in a motel room, Al again hits the road. Now it is his turn to pick up a hitchhiker as he stops to give a ride to a woman named Vera. While on the road, Vera starts to ask some questions of her own. She knows this car and asks the whereabouts of it’s owner Charles Haskell, Jr. Vera also claims to be the woman who caused the scratches on Haskell’s hand.
Vera knows a lot more than she has initially let on and threatens to tell the police that Al has murdered Haskell unless he goes along with a plan that she has. It seems Haskell was in line to inherit a great deal of money and Vera wants Al to follow through with his impersonation of Haskell in order to get the money.
For Al Roberts, things will just continue to get worse.
NOTABLE: In 1992, Detour was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Detour was the first, of what are known as “B” movies, to be selected for preservation, and the very first film noir to be honored.
Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) was one of the so-called “poverty row” film studios in mid-twentieth century Hollywood.
Made with such a small budget, the Lincoln Continental convertible driven by Charles Haskell was actually director Edgar G. Ulmer’s personal car.