Film / Detour

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/detour1945.jpg
Detour is a 1945 Film Noir directed by Edward G Ulmer and starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage. Hitchhiker Al Roberts is picked up by a man by the name of Charles Haskell. Things go downhill from there.

Detour provides examples of:

  • Dead Person Impersonation: Al Roberts hitches a ride with a man who dies soon afterward. He takes the dead man's car and identity. Of course, this being film noir, he soon encounters a dodgy dame and things go from bad to worse.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Haskell has two scars, and the stories behind them both become important plot points:
    • He got one of them recently, from being scratched by a hitchhiking woman. That woman is Vera. Roberts also picks her up later (all three of them were heading in the same direction on the same road, after all). Because she knows what Haskell looks like, she figures out that Roberts killed him and stole his identity.
    • The other he got when he was duelling as a kid. Because his father saw that he had been cut, Roberts cannot pretend to be Haskell to get the dying father's money as he doesn't have a matching scar.
  • Femme Fatale: Vera sees through Roberts' ruse and blackmails him. She insists that they should milk the situation for all they can, instead of trying to distance themselves from it.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Implied. Vera has a nasty cough, and says of the prospect of being hanged: "I'm on my way now. All they'd be doing would be rushing it."
  • Shout-Out: Roberts compares Vera to Camille, the name usually used for the protagonist in adaptations of La Dame aux camélias. Vera recognizes her as "the dame that died of consumption".
  • This Is Reality: Courtesy of the narration.
    "If this were fiction, I would fall in love with Vera, marry her, and make a respectable woman out of her."
  • Unreliable Narrator: It's implied that the main character Al Roberts is coloring events to make himself look sympathetic, and to make Vera seem more like a vicious Femme Fatale. He probably did commit the crimes in the film purposefully, but the story is altered by Never My Fault.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Detour