Monday, July 30, 2012

180. Detour

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer

Another fun film noir.  I really love this genre but I cannot understand why the list makers included this in the list. It is Double Indemnity without any polish.

The plot in this one is slightly implausible. A man hitchhikes and is picked up by an old man who dies.  In order to not be framed for the killing, he, of course, assumes the man's identity.  He is blackmailed by a evil broad (are women ever good in noir?) and some double crossing ensues.

First off, this movie is only about an hour which I am all for; I am so sick of three hour war dramas.  Like I said, I don't really get why this movie deserves a place on a list of the best films of all time.  Still, it is really fun, entertaining, and a nice break.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Ann Savage was almost picked up by a shady looking truck during the hitchhiking scene.

Filmed in only 28 days.


  1. I guess it is an example of raw noir, but, yeah, there are better ones on the list.

  2. I'm a little surprised that it's in the list, but that's not to say that I didn't enjoy it.

    - Was the ending where he gets quietly picked up by the police added on for the sake of the Hays code which wouldn't allow criminals to escape the law?
    - Is the rise of noir a direct consequence of the aforementioned code? With lovey-dovey Carey Grant gets-the-girl movies being pushed on the one hand, noir becomes a natural and allowable outlet for filmmakers and audiences who want something a little darker.
    - Partly due to its short running time, I could well imagine this being an episode of The Twilight Zone.

    Including future films that I've already seen (my personal list journey is about completion, not chronology which just happens to be how I'm filling the gaps at the moment) I think this marks my 400th tick in a box.

    1. Congrats on 400th! If you don't go chronologically, how do you decide what movies to watch? Is it about convenience? I will get never get tired of talking about list strategies.

    2. I know what you mean

      For me, this started out as a thing with a friend where one of us would see a Best 50 Films of All Time list in a magazine or whatever, count how many we'd seen then send it to the other to see who'd seen more. This book was the ultimate list, but impractical to count until I found a spreadsheet online one day. So the two of us and a number of other friends filled it out to see who had the most.

      As the years went by, some of us tried to watch more list films just to increase our totals. I think I got up to about 230. Then one day I decided to look for the first film online. Why not? It's only short and funny to think that I had such an odd entry ticked off on my list. Then I looked for the second. then the third and so on. In fact, as I was looking after a new born son in a small apartment at the time, it was the ideal way to pass the time by watching silent movies that wouldn't wake him up.

      And so I go through the list, downloading in book order, sometimes shaking up the sequence in which I actually watch them based upon mood or how much time I have. I skip films I've already seen unless I've mostly forgotten them so it makes sense to watch again to remind myself.

      Sometimes I flick through the book I think it would be nice to jump to some other particularly enticing films in subsequent decades, but I figure that'll just leave me with an unbalanced or boring set of films to catch up with later. A bit like leaving your carrots to last.

      Well, you DID ask.

    3. That was part of why I wanted to go chronologically, so I wouldn't get stuck with all the boring films at the end. Nice. It's cool you found a way to fit this in with a newborn son.

    4. I keep thinking that I need to get a bigger apartment by the time the Hays code finishes, so he doesn't overhear all the swearing etc