Detour (1945 film)

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Detour is a 1945 film about a hitchhiker who takes on a dead man's identity only to face blackmail from an unscrupulous woman.

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Written by Martin Goldsmith, based on his 1939 novel Detour: An Extraordinary Tale.
He went searching for love... but Fate forced a DETOUR to Revelry... Violence... Mystery!  (taglines)

Al Roberts[edit]

  • That's life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you.
  • Yes. Fate, or some mysterious force, can put the finger on you or me for no good reason at all.
  • [as narrator] What kind of dames thumb rides? Sunday School teachers?
  • Money. You know what that is, the stuff you never have enough of. Little green things with George Washington's picture that men slave for, commit crimes for, die for. It's the stuff that has caused more trouble in the world than anything else we ever invented, simply because there's too little of it.
  • So when this drunk handed me a ten spot after a request, I couldn't get very excited. What was it I asked myself? A piece of paper crawling with germs. Couldn't buy anything I wanted.
  • [as narrator] Until then I had done things my way, but from then on something stepped in and shunted me off to a different destination than the one I'd picked for myself.
  • [voiceover] It wasn't much of a club really. You know the kind. A joint where you could have a sandwich and a few drinks and run interference for your girl on the dance floor.
  • [as narrator] As I drove off, it was still raining and the drops streaked down the windshield like tears.


  • I'd hate to see a fellow as young as you wind up sniffin' that perfume Arizona hands out free to murderers!
  • Say who do you think you're talking to - a hick? Listen Mister, I been around, and I know a wrong guy when I see one. What'd you do, kiss him with a wrench?


  • Charles Haskell Jr.: I was tussling with the most dangerous animal in the world, a woman.


Al Roberts: [as narrator after thumbing a ride] I guess at least an hour past before I noticed those deep scratches on his right hand. They were wicked, three puffy red lines about a quarter inch apart. He must have seen me looking at them because he said...
Charles Haskell Jr.: Beauties, arent they? They're gonna be scars someday. What an animal!
Al Roberts: Whatever it was, it must have been pretty big and vicious to have done that!
Charles Haskell Jr.: Right on both counts, New York! I was tussling with the most dangerous animal in the world - a woman!
Al Roberts: She must've been Tarzan's mate! Looks like you lost the bout!
Charles Haskell Jr.: Certainly wasn't a draw! You know, there oughta be a law against dames with claws!

Al Roberts: How far you goin'?
Vera: How far YOU goin'?
Al Roberts: [as narrator] That took me by surprise, and I turned around to look at her. She was facing straight ahead, so I couldn't see her eyes. She was young - not more than 24. Man, she looked like she had been thrown off the crummiest freight train in the world! Yet in spite of that, I got the impression of beauty, not the beauty of a movie actress, mind you, or the beauty you dream about with your wife, but a natural beauty, a beauty that's almost homely, because it's so real. And suddenly she turned to face me...
Vera: How far did ya say you were goin'?

Vera: Life's like a ball game. You gotta take a swing at whatever comes along before you find it's the ninth inning.
Al Roberts: You read that somewhere...

Vera: I'm gonna see that you sell this car so you don't get caught.
Al Roberts: Thanks! Of course, your interest wouldn't be financial, would it? You wouldn't want a small percentage of the profits?
Vera: Well, now that you insist, how can I refuse? 100% will do!
Al Roberts: Fine! I'm relieved! I thought for a moment you were gonna take it all!
Vera: I don't wanna be a hog!


  • He went searching for love... but Fate forced a DETOUR to Revelry... Violence... Mystery!


  • 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.


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