Wed, 1 November 2006
Edgar G. Ulmer's 1945 film "Detour" is commonly lauded as a B-noir that overcame production limitations with artful minimalism. In this context, instances of obtrusive lighting and camerawork are viewed as minor blemishes--the best quality that could be expected from a poverty row feature. Clute and Edwards argue that the film should be granted a far greater measure of technical mastery, that the so-called flubs purposefully call attention to the very cinematic means used to construct the narrative.In this optic, the film is not good despite its "flubs" but great because of them; they render it a self-conscious noir meta-narrative--a film about the making of noir films. These qualities combine with a great script and superlative acting, by Tom Neal and Ann Savage, to create the template for all noir post-1945. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
You two are far better than most of the analysists who pack the special feature commentaries on films. I can only hope that if KINO or Criterion decides to restore Detour that they will ask you two to be on the commentary. I heard it here first! If I could pick one movie to hear you two opine on it would be Fritz Lang\'s \"M\". Among others, would be Gilda, Scarlet Street, and Woman in the Window. I like Detour, but I think Fritz Lang\'s noirs were equally as raw. Has anyone heard whether Warner Brother\'s intends to come out with a Film Noir Classics Collection Vol. 4 and if so what may be on it?
Regarding Detour: in your attempts to recover it to the record, be sure to note that the director Edgar Ulmer RIPPED OFF the novelist and screenwriter for Detour, Martin Goldsmith. In fact, if you look at Ulmer\\\'s other work and read the script, you will see what a hack he really is. Detour should be credited to Martin J. Goldsmith.
A wonderful episode. I was worried at first because I felt you were both so desperate (and rightly so) to communicate how great this film is on its own terms, that I felt the usual clarity of your readings was initially absent. However, some of the observations were riveting and its great to hear you disagree with one another. This is a special film and there\'s a feeling that it took the confluence of many things to bring it to life.
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