Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Vagabond: Martin M. Goldsmith

The 1945 film noir DETOUR is a movie that seems to have been made out of grit and blood. It certainly wasn't made out of money. As the crown jewel of Hollywood's Poverty Row, DETOUR is best known today as the premiere work of slumming master Edgar G. Ulmer, the penurious auteur who has since become a hero to every filmmaker who ever tried to make art on a budget.

With all due respect to Ulmer, though, we would do well to remember the man who wrote the screenplay (and original novel) of DETOUR, the fascinating firebrand Martin M. Goldsmith. A true eccentric who rejected the materialism of Tinseltown, Goldsmith was one of the key screenwriters of Poverty Row film noir in the 1940s and 1950s. He deserves as much credit as anyone for the masterpiece that is DETOUR, but his career, both in films and as a social activist, doesn't stop there.

I wrote about Goldsmith for the Summer 2016 issue of NOIR CITY. You can read a PDF of my article here. And go here to learn more about the Film Noir Foundation and how you can contribute to its effort to rescue and restore America's noir heritage.

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