Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DETOUR - Erdody - "Get Back On Track, Jack" (1945)

You're going one way, and your life decides to take you a completely different direction, and there's nothing you can do about it, except go along for the ride!

"Detour!" What a great title and what a great word! Nobody knows where a detour is going to take them, unless it's a route they travel every day, and that's exactly what this film is all about, being lost!

Well, you can't get much more lost looking than this poor slob known as Al Roberts, and for good reason, considering his bio, Tom (The Brute Man) Neal might not have had to act so hard to look this miserable! As an amateur boxer, he had a record of 44-3 with 41 Knockouts, so he was a pretty tough guy, but in 1965 he let things get out of control and he was convicted of shooting his wife to death! He got off on involuntary manslaughter and served 6 years of his 10 year sentence! He didn't even make it another year after his release before dying at the age of 58 with a bad ticker!

"I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me" written by Jimmy McHugh and Clarence Gaskill is playing on the jukebox, and it's about to drive poor Al Roberts beserk! Most of the rest of the music in the movie was written by one of those people who liked to only go by one name: Erdody!!

Flash back to better times when he was performing the same song with his sweetheart Claudia (The Face Of Marble) Drake as Sue Harvey! If he could only turn back the hands of time!

Sue is heading off to California to try and better her singing career, and she's leaving Al behind!

It doesn't take long before Al gets the bright idea that he ought to head on out to California too, and join the girl of his dreams! Right about here is where the "Detour" begins!

Al gets picked up by a nice enough guy who talks too much, pops pills, and has some big gnarly looking scratches on the back of his right hand, but he's headed all the way to California, and that seems great as far as Al is concerned! Let it be known that Al is also broke!! Al's new friend is named Charlie Haskell Jr. and was played by Edmund (The Invisible Man Returns) MacDonald. Six years after "Detour" was made Edmund would be dead at the age of 43 from a brain hemorrhage!

Sue's career seems to be heading in all the right directions!

 Al's meantime, not so! Don't know if it was the pills, or if Charlie just had a heart attack while Al was taking his turn at the wheel, but whatever it was, he's of no further use to this world! Al hits the panic button and decides that they would never believe the story of a poor hitchhiker, so he ditches the body and pockets Charlie's dough, and decides that until he gets to California, for now, he's going to be Charles Haskell Jr.! They didn't have picture IDs back then and the description on the Driver's License was close enough!

When you're out driving around and you don't know where you are, and then you have to take a detour and end up God knows where, and if that's not confusing enough, the detour has a detour, well, that's what's about to happen to Al Roberts, when he coincidentally runs into the crazy mama of all detours when he stops to get some gas! She seems innocent enough! Omigod Al! Don't fall for it!!

Meet Ann (Scared Stiff) Savage as simply Vera! Day or night, Vera doesn't change, she's very pretty, but there's something brewing inside her, and it's a strange brew, no doubt!

It's not long before Vera lets Al know that she knows he's not Charlie Haskell. She should know, because she's the reason he had all those scratch marks on his hand! How incredibly lucky Al was to pick her up!

Vera's got all kinds of plans for Al posing as Charlie, but it's all about to come to a head, and essentially she is holding him as a kidnap victim, and he better cooperate or else she will tell the authorities that he killed Charlie!

After seeing this newspaper clipping, Vera gets the big idea that Al should pose as Charles Jr. after the old man kicks off, and collect a big inheritance that they can share!

Al doesn't like it, and feels like he's stuck in between a rock and the big house, so one night when they're drinking and playing cards, the happy couple gets into an argument, and Vera says she's going to call the cops, and storms off into the bedroom with the long phone cord trailing behind her! Yeah, I know that you kids today don't know what a phone cord is, so look it up, it's essential to the story!

Psycho bitch Vera is drunker than snot, and kind of trips over the bed with the phone cord all wrapped around her and passes out!

The door is locked, so in an attempt to stop Vera from calling the police, Al starts yanking on the phone cord hoping to make Vera let go of it!

Whoa! Major Bummer! The cord was wrapped around Vera's neck, and now she's deader than a doornail!

And that's why Al is in the shape he's in! Two deaths, one by accident, and one by association, but in the eyes of the authorities, he will be guilty as Hell! Life is filled with detours, the last one I took brought me to Amazon Prime and this movie, I hope the next one is as good! (Surprise, Surprise, an even better detour, I just found out that "Detour" also streams for free at the Internet Archive!) Now you don't have any reason to not watch it!


Douglas McEwan said...

My condolensces, Eegah!!, on the loss of your avatar. I met Richard Kiel a couple times, and he was a very cool gent. (Just never call him "Lurch." You'd get a heavy sigh - from gigantic lungs - and then: "No, I'm Jaws.")

Eegah!! said...

Thanks Douglas, it's been a very trying day, and I hadn't heard the news! I was really hoping we would have an interview with Richard some day! 74 years old, that's pretty good for a guy that big! As far as I'm concerned, he was one of a kind, and that's rare! We'll miss him for sure!

Greg Goodsell said...

Al obviously MURDERED the older guy and Vera. The story is told in voice-over, and he's giving you a sad sack story. Tom Neal was a real-life loser, that's for sure!

Eegah!! said...

Seriously? Am I that freakin' naive? I believed his story all the way, and I never ever thought he was making it all up! Seemed like a nice guy to me! What a maroon!!

Grant said...

I don't know if I've ever seen DETOUR, bit I always find Tom Neal entertaining, in things like THE BRUTE MAN and RADAR SECRET SERVICE (that last one is such a "programmer" in some ways, but he manages to stand out in it as much as in other things.)

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

I'm pretty sure you're gonna like "Detour" Grant!

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