Essential cinema. The granddaddy of the 'B''s has certainly withstood the test of time to become a fixture in cinema history with a reputation stronger than any of the Oscar nominated films of that year (except perhaps 'Mildred Pierce'). At an economical 69 minutes this film tells one hell of a story and still packs quite the punch. Anne Francis with only 30 min. of screen time makes one of the great femme fatales.
A byword for narrative economy, its impeccably contrived cliches seem not to come from previous efforts in the genre but exclusively the contingent of its own shoestring budget and Ulmer's imagination.
****1/2. Almost a masterpiece. Edgar G. Ulmer is unfortunately one of the most underrated American directors. Look at the fog, listen to the music (a 67 min. musical score), admire the boldness of the out-of-focus shots or the flashbacks in the flashbacks, quiver in front of Ann Savage's viciousness. DETOUR is a fairy tale for adults and Tom Neal waits in vain for someone who'll save him from the claws of the wolf.
On his way to L.A. to reach his fiancée, nightclub piano player hitches a ride from a stranger who suddenly dies. Noir quickie shot on a shoestring has since become legendary as the quintessential example of style upgrading B-movie material. Tom Neal is a great hopeless anti-hero but Ann Savage steals the show as a vulnerable and extremely dangerous dark lady.