April 24, 2017


Ebert:  This movie from Hollywood's poverty row, shot in six days, filled with technical errors and ham-handed narrative, starring a man who can only pout and a woman who can only sneer, should have faded from sight soon after it was released in 1945. And yet it lives on, haunting and creepy, an embodiment of the guilty soul of film noir. No one who has seen it has easily forgotten it.

Thomson:  Edgar G. Ulmer was Viennese. He had designed for Max Reinhardt and F. W. Murnau, and he came to America in 1930. He began directing in 1934 and worked for thirty years, usually on B pictures. He seems always to have been hanging on by his fingernails, yet he was plainly very smart and highly talented. Half a dozen of his pictures (Ruthless, The Naked Dawn, for instance) are still classics of the underground that existed before “independent” film came along. He was interviewed, and he talked like a pirate king. Yet how did he survive? And how is a film like Detour endurable? I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. The film is a portrait of hell, and brilliantly done. It was made for Producers Releasing Corporation, with Leon Fromkess as producer. The credits on the picture say that Martin Goldsmith wrote it from his own novel. Benjamin H. Kline did the photography. The film runs 67 minutes.

David Thomson, "Have You Seen . . . ?"



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