Saturday, December 26, 2020

Too Tawdry to be True?! And Starring a Real-Life Killer?! TCM’s Film Noir of the Week Saturday Night-Sunday Morning at 12:15 and 10 a.m. ET is Edgar G. Ulmer’s “Cult Classic,” Detour (1945), Featuring Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Edmund MacDonald and Claudia Drake

By David in TN
Friday, December 25, 2020 at 8:28:00 P.M. EST

TCM’s Film Noir of the Week Saturday Night-Sunday Morning at 12:15 and 10 a.m. ET is Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour (1945), a 68-minute, so-called Cult Classic featuring Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Edmund MacDonald and Claudia Drake.

This is another one Eddie Muller has recycled, having showed it on Noir Alley three years ago.

Film Noir Guide: “Filmed in just six days on a shoestring (it shows), Detour is worthy of its reputation as one of the best low-budget films ever made and has become a cult favorite of film noir fans.

“Director Ulmer deserves much of the credit for this B masterpiece, but the lion’s share of the glory must go to the two stars, Neal and Savage, who give the best performances of their less-than-sensational careers.

“Wallowing in self-pity at a roadside diner, Neal ponders the events that brought him to the lowest point of his life.

“Via flashback, we meet the accomplished pianist as he performs at a New York nightspot (the Break O' Dawn Club) along with his torch singing girlfriend (Drake).

After Drake packs up and heads for Hollywood and fame (she winds up slinging hash), the despondent Neal starts hitchhiking across the country to join her.

“Fate gives him a lift in the guise of a friendly motorist (MacDonald) on his way to L.A. But what seems like a stroke of luck is actually the beginning of Neal’s tragic downfall. When MacDonald begins to feel ill, they pull over on the side of the road. The man keels over (probably as a result of the pills he's been popping) and falls to the ground, hitting his head on a rock. Convinced he’ll be charged with murder, Neal disposes of the body and takes off with the man’s car and wallet.

“Seemingly oblivious to his predicament, he stupidly picks up a cagey hitchhiker (Savage) who soon figures out what’s happened and uses the opportunity to keep the poor sap on a tight leash, while attempting to blackmail him into participating in a hare-brained scheme in which he would impersonate the long-lost son of a dying millionaire.

“Fatally ill herself, and with no motivation to be nice, Savage makes life a living hell for the pitiable Neal, who’s oddly repulsed by her sexual advances and yet fascinated by her beauty, which is ‘almost homely because it’s so real.’

“This rejection, of course, doesn't air well with the femme fatale from Hell, whose cruelty seems to have no bounds. Despite some unintentional humor, Detour is a skillfully directed and competently acted film. You'll ever love it or hate it."

David in TN: Eddie will probably detail Tom Neal’s real-life transgressions. He brutally beat up Franchot Tone over actress Barbara Payton. A few years later, Neal was convicted of manslaughter for killing his then-wife.



Anonymous said...

jerry pdx
An Italian laundry detergent that magically turns scrawny nebbish white males into muscular negro males? It's racist beyond words but you have to see it to believe it:
Imagine the outrage if a commercial like this turned a black man into a white man. Italy is gone, it's one of those countries awash in negro alien invaders and the advertising industry is going with the times and pushing the notion that black men are better than white men. Meant to be satirical? Yeah, I'm sure that's what the makers of the ad will say but they really intended to send an overt message to white men that they are lesser as men and sex objects and they just have to accept it. My guess is that the unholy alliance of socially disfunctional and/or obese white women, white homosexual males and white beta "males" are behind this one, we all know the type, they have permeated the entertainment industry in our country and are behind the commodification of coal burners like the Kardashians and Lindsey Vonn.

David In TN said...

TCM's Film Noir of the Week Saturday Night-Sunday Morning at Midnight and 10 am ET is Robert Siodmak's The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945), with George Sanders, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ella Raines, Moyna McGill.

Film Noir Guide: "Sanders, known as Uncle Harry to the town's children, is a mild-mannered bachelor who lives with his two unmarried sisters (Fitzgerald and McGill). Fitzgerald has an unnatural attachment to her brother and isn't pleased when Raines shows up in their small town and sets her sights on him. When Sanders and Raines decide to get married, the sisters find themselves searching for a new place to live. McGill is genuinely happy for her brother, but Fitzgerald is hell bent on destroying the relationship so she'll have Sanders all to herself again. Sanders nicely underplays his role as the quiet, unassuming brother, but Fitzgerald is too stiff as his pompous, overbearing sister. Raines and McGill are fine in supporting roles, but what keeps the viewer engrossed is the perverse thought that at any moment we'll see Fitzgerald try to seduce her brother. Sanders comes off as Mr. Innocence in this scandalous scenario, but it's strange that the girl he finally picks to fall in love with bears a resemblance to his sister that's too close for comfort. Also known as Uncle Harry, the film contains such a cop-out ending, thanks to the friendly 1940s thought police, that it reportedly caused the producer (Joan Harrison) to quit Universal in disgust."

I don't remember ever seeing this one. From his outro last week, Eddie Muller is going to wail about how badly Joan Harrison (the producer) was treated.