FILM NOIRTuesday 24 May
Edgar G. Ulmer, USA 1945
When you hear the stories behind the production process of Detour, it immediately becomes clear why it is a cult classic. Allegedly, the film would have been shot within 6 days with a budget of 20,000 euros. When director Ulmer saw the footage, he noticed that it wasn’t enough to edit everything. However, because of the budget, it was impossible to do a re-shoot, so he decided to make do with what he had during the editing, and opt for an illogical narrative structure. Hence, Detour was originally a low budget B-movie, made by a small studio, and for a long time only available in worn-out 16mm prints.
However, make no mistake. This film has had a cult revival for a reason. One of the causes must be the character Vera (Ann Savage), which is also one of my favorite femme fatales ever. Ann Savage honestly plays a wrecking ball of a woman, who knows how to create a lot of threat with merely her facial expressions. Rarely do you come across someone who has as much bite power as the ‘meanest woman of film history’. Her vitriolic attitude, dark circles under the eyes, sour mouth, hair tousled by the desert wind – this is not a sensual fashion doll, but a feminine bulldozer that rides over you without any remorse.
Detour is the third film that Zienema screens during the film noir theme month! Next week we will close the month with the neo-noir A Land Imagined (2018, Siew Hua Yeo).