Movie review: Detour Outline: 1. Detour by Edgar G. Ulmer as a classic example of film noir of 1940s. 2. The films short summary and the main characters. 3.
The process of films production: 3.1 Screenplay; 3.2 Some foreground and background techniques; 3.3 Stylistic imperfections of Detour. 4. Conclusion. Detour is a classic film noir of 1945, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Film noir is a term used in cinema basicly to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize moral ambiguity and sexual motivation. Detour is considered to be one of the greatest achievements in B-movie making. The story is told in flashback as the grumbling hitchhiker hears the song I Cant Believe You Fell in Love With Me played on the jukebox.
His reminiscence brings us back to his past and tells us his story. He is an ordinary piano player named Al Roberts (actor Tom Neal) being in love with a second-rate singer named Sue (Claudia Drake).
They both work in a third-rate club in New York City. Their song, significantly, is I Cant Believe You Fell in Love With Me. He wants to get married, but she leaves for the West Coast to try her luck. He decides to follow her and sets out hitchhiking.
A man named Haskell (Edmund McDonald) picks him up. It turns out he has a heart condition, and dies in the passenger seat of the car. In panic Roberts takes his identity so as not to be blamed for the murder and continues his way in the Haskells car. But then he gives a ride to another hitcher, a woman named Vera (Ann Savage) who knew Haskell and is now demanding an explanation about his disappearance. Every word said by her is acid, her expression is always angry and furious. She constantly lashes Al with sucker and sap.
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She blackmails him into everything hes got. Al Roberts is played by Tom Neal as a weak, undecided, self-pitying man, while Ann Savage doesnt present any tenderness or humanity in her performance as Vera. Thus, there is a combination of two pure types: the submissive man and the female hellion. The movie then cooks up a subplot in which Vera reads in the paper that Haskells rich father is dying, so she decides to masquerade Roberts as Haskell and collect the dough. Waiting for the old man to die, they sit in a rented room, drinking, playing cards and fighting, until Al finds himself with another corpse on his hands, once again in a situation that makes him look guilty of murder. The movie was shot with B-actors, but directed by a man of qualities Edgar G. Ulmer. The plot is based on a novel by Martin Goldsmith.
Goldsmith had been a short story writer who was hired to adapt his first novel, Detour, into a screenplay. Goldsmith wrote Detour as a very detailed, 130 page screenplay, even though he was perfectly aware that it was going to be produced by PRC, one of the poorest of the skid row B-movie companies. The movies low budget is easy to observe. During one early scene, Ulmer uses thick fog to substitute for New York streets. He shoots as many scenes as possible in the front seats of cars, with shabby rear-projection (the only meal Al and Vera have together is in a drive-in).
For a flashback, he simply zooms in on Neal’s face, cuts the lights in the background, and shines a light in his eyes. Another Ulmers invention is moving the camera in and out of focus over the objects in the hotel room after the murder. Sometimes he stretches to make ends meet.
When Al calls long-distance to Sue, for example, Ulmer pads his running time by editing in stock footage of telephone wires and switchboard operators, but cant spring for any footage of Sue actually speaking into the phone (Al does all the talking, and then Ulmer cuts to her holding the receiver to her ear).
The strange thing is that the first vehicles to give rides to the hitchhiking Al seem to have right-hand drives. He gets in on what would be the American drivers side, and the cars drive off on the left side of the road. Was the movie shot in England? Some think that the negative was flipped. Ulmer possibly shot the scenes with the cars going from left to right, then reflected that for a journey from the east to the west coasts, from the right to the left would be more conventional film grammar. Placing style above common sense is completely consistent with Ulmers approach throughout the film.
... base.That is, the idea that women and men are different. The two movies, more or less, were focused on showing the ... of gender characters that the society have. Movie goes on, to talk about how men and women react differently in relationships, or ... and decided to stop the wedding. This movie seems to suggest that women and men cannot be friends. The feelings Julianne had ...
Even with all the limitations and stylistic imperfections, Detour remains one of the greatest examples of low-budget noir movie. It is considered to be Ulmers masterpiece, who, inspired by German expressionism, managed to create a story of a slow inexorable descent of a person towards hell..