Detour [2003]

Director: Steve Taylor
Stars: Ashley Reed, Aaron Buer, Brent Taylor, Danna Brady, Kelsey Wedeen
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 89 minutes

Like many public-domain DVD sets, this six-disc set compiles a handful of well-liked features from one genre--in this case, a quintet of venerable '40s noir. Where Questar's box exceeds expectations is on its sixth disc, which is chock full of extras that make the set a must-have for viewers looking for a crash course in Hollywood thrillers. The lineup of flicks is solid--Rudolph Mate's D.O.A., in which Edmond O'Brien must find out who has poisoned him; Edgar G. Ulmer's minimalist Detour, which pits desperate Tom Neal against feral Ann Savage; Orson Welles's The Stranger (which is technically more suspense than noir), in which his Nazi-turned professor locks horns with Edward G. Robinson--who's also featured in Fritz Lang's moody Scarlet Street. The set is rounded out by the lesser-known Killer Bait, and if the picture quality isn't as crystal-clear as on major studio releases, the supplemental features more than make up for it. Disc 6 features two swell featurettes, one on the genre itself and the other on its predatory ladies, as well as a color gallery of poster art and a terrific compilation of trailers for such films as Bullets or Ballots and The Postman Always Rings Twice. For noir first-timers, this set is a killer place to start. --Paul Gaita

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