Al Roberts (Tom Neal) is a down on his luck piano player. He spends his time playing in this low-life joint, dreaming of bigger things and reuniting with his gal who is trying to make it in Hollywood. Finally he decides to head out to be with her and that’s where the real trouble starts.
With practically no money, Al hitches his way across the country. Nearing the finish line in Arizona he lucks out with a ride that will take him straight into Los Angeles. Then a surprising death, some rotten coincidence and some blackmail threatens all of Al’s dreams for good.
This is a low-budget B-movie noir that through the years gained an appreciation as an example of an effective and entertaining example of the genre. Neal is good as the beaten down Al. Ann Savage is great as the commanding Vera and devilishly enjoys the control she eventually has over Al. The film has all the earmarks of a classic noir story and despite the very low budget it creatively tells this small story very effectively and I enjoyed it.
I was very surprised to learn that Detour has ended up in the public domain. How certain films end up there can be a fascinating story unto itself. So you shouldn’t have any trouble watching it. As a matter of fact, here it is –