Detour falls short of being a sleeper because of a flat ending and its low-budgeted production mountings. Uniformly good performances and some equally good direction and dialog keep the meller moving, however.
Theme is the buffeting that man gets from the fates. Story revolves around Tom Neal as a down-and-out young pianist hitchhiking his way to the Coast. Director Edgar G. Ulmer achieves some steadily-mounting suspense as the pianist becomes implicated in two murders, neither of which he’s committed. So he begins hitchhiking his way back east. Story is told by Neal in flashback.
Neal, who’s been kicking around for some time in these minor items, does well with a difficult role that rates him a break in something better. Ann Savage is convincing as a tough girl of the roads and gets off some rough lines.
Benjamin H. Kline contributes some outstanding camera work that helps the flashback routine come off well. Leo Erdody’s score, revolving around some Chopin themes, aids in backing up the film’s grim mood.