Detour (1945 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Detour (1945) is a film noir cult classic that stars Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, and Edmund MacDonald. The movie was adapted by Martin Goldsmith and Martin Mooney (uncredited) from Goldsmith's novel, and was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. The 68-minute film was released by the Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), one of the so-called "poverty row" film studios.

Although made on a small budget and containing only rudimentary sets and camera work, the film has garnered substantial praise through the years and is held in high regard. The film's ending is notable as an exemplum of involuntary manslaughter.


A piano player, Al (Tom Neal), sets off hitchhiking his way to California to be with his fiancee. Along the way, a stranger in a convertible gives him a ride. While driving, Al stops to put the top up during a rainstorm. He discovers that the owner of the car has died in his sleep. Al panics and dumps the body in a gully, takes the stranger's money, clothes, and ID and then drives off in his expensive car. After spending the night in a motel, he picks up another hitchhiker, Vera (Ann Savage) (a femme fatale), who had earlier ridden with the stranger, threatens to turn him in for murdering the stranger unless he gives her all the money. In Hollywood, they rent an apartment and while trying to sell the car, learn from a newspaper that the stranger was about to collect a large inheritance. Vera demands that Al impersonate the stranger, but Al balks at this notion. When the two get drunk in the apartment and begin arguing, a snubbed Vera takes Al up on his earlier dare to call the police, whereupon Al accidentally kills by strangling her with the telephone cord. Al starts hitchhiking east again, but is apprehended by the police near Reno.

The story is narrated by Al, who may be an unreliable narrator.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Detour (1945 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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