Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer, USA 1945)
DETOUR is great and I already wanna watch it again. Its short running time of around 70 minutes leaves you with a lean piece of film steak. No fat. No chewy bits. No boring moments. And all this even tho the film was shot in only 7 days and on a very small budget. MARTIN SCORSESE talks about it in the 4½ hour BBC documentary A PERSONAL JOURNEY WITH MARTIN SCORSESE THROUGH AMERICAN MOVIES (1995).
The DVD I got is from Image Entertainment and altho it's barebone it's probably the best release there is. The cover states it taken directly from a 35mm print and it certainly looks alright. There's a bit of scratches around reel edges but nothing that'll make you scratch your eyes out of their sockets. Not unless you're one of those format fans (in contradiction to FILM fans) that populate many a film message board. According to dvdcompare.net the French DVD has a documentary film about Ulmer, EDGAR G ULMER: THE MAN OFF SCREEN, but the print (of DETOUR) is shitty. I got the Image Entertainment DVD as I wanted the better print. And besides, the doc has its own release anyway so I'll probably order that one at some point.
DETOUR was remade in 1992 by Wade Williams but I can only find ONE release on VHS in the States and that tape is more difficult to get hold of than to get laid at a dike slumber party. I'll been trawling Cyberspace for months on end and I can't find it anywhere! Not even from the usual bootleggers or at iOffer!! Anyhoo, I highly recommend the original film!
PS: There's a bit of a bizarre twist to the story but it contains a SPOILER; in the film the main character, played by TOM NEAL, accidentally kills a woman. In real life Neal did the same 20 years later. He accidentally shot his wife in the back of the head and was sentenced to 10 years in jail (he got out after 6). He was originally tried for murder.
And how's this for weirdness; in the remake from 1992 it's his real life son, TOM NEAL JR., who plays the same character as his dad did in the original.