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Road House (Fox Film Noir) (1948)

Ida Lupino , Cornel Wilde , Jean Negulesco  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde, Celeste Holm, Richard Widmark, Charles Flynn
  • Directors: Jean Negulesco
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CC7PM6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,155 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Road House (Fox Film Noir)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by film noir historians Kim Morgan and Eddie Muller
  • Killer Instincts: Richard Widmark and Ida Lupino at Twentieth Century Fox featurette
  • Interactive pressbook
  • Still photo galleries

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ida Lupino is a singer working at Richard Widmark's club. When she falls for Cornel Wilde, Widmark goes berserk.

Road House has acquired a cult as a prime film noir. Certainly the title location is archetypal, a lounge and bowling alley up toward the Canadian border, and Ida Lupino and Richard Widmark make the most of flavorful roles that would qualify them as exemplary noir denizens even if they hadn't established that elsewhere. He's the second-generation owner of the place who's never been obliged to grow up. She's a somewhat shopworn dame he's brought back from Chicago to play the piano and sing. He--Jefty's the name, by the way--decides to marry her, and is unhinged enough not to realize he needs to ask first. She, meanwhile, has been rubbing Jefty's sobersides right-hand man (Cornel Wilde) the wrong way, and both of them are getting to like it. Fairly psychotic vengeance ensues.

This was director Jean Negulesco's first film for Fox, pretty much coinciding with his career peak of Johnny Belinda, a Warner Bros. picture that would bring him an Oscar nomination. Yet Road House is a frustratingly mixed bag. The writing boasts expert three-cushion dialogue--which Lupino delivers deftly--but the script is poorly structured overall. (Screenwriter-producer Edward Chodorov was appropriating material from another crazy-young-fellow movie he'd worked on, MGM's 1942 Rage in Heaven.) Cinematographer Joseph (Laura) LaShelle's lighting and setups are characteristically artful and glossy, but he's obliged to make too many studio "exteriors" look good--a standard cheat in that era, but more irksome than usual because the ostensible location cries out for legitimacy (couldn't they have gone to Lake Arrowhead at least?). Totally on the plus side, however, Ida really does sing and, for the first time in her career, is not dubbed; as Celeste Holm's character notes in admiration and envy, "She does more without a voice than anyone I ever heard." Musical highlights: "One for My Baby" and "Again." --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lupino Unbound December 28, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Jean Negulesco was an also-ran among golden-age directors, but he fired on all cylinders in this late-forties piney-woods noir. Richard Widmark is a giggling psycho who owns, what else, a Road House somewhere near the Canadian Border; Cornel Wilde is his all-American man Friday. Into the mix comes Lupino, a tough "shantoozie" who becomes the apex of a sick triangle. The talk is hard-boiled and freighted with innuendo (in the style of the times). Worth the price of admission is Lupino singing "One more for my baby (and one more for the road)" in her burnt-toast voice, while sitting at a white piano gouged with burns from her smouldering cigarettes. This movie was made for viewing on the late, late show.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mating season June 29, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
ROAD HOUSE sets a dark mood with plenty of night scenes. I'm usually turned away from a film having too many night scenes. Half the time you can't tell who's who and what's they doing. Nothing unclear in ROAD HOUSE. Director, Jean Negulesco, deserves a gold star for handling the lighting in those scenes. I give another gold star to Celeste Holm, the girl that you want for a "friend." The plot gets down to the simply fact of the mating season. I was a little concerned that Widmark's evil propensity wasn't foreshadowed during the earlier stages of the film, but it was acceptable to believe that he just flipped his cork. The best part of the movie was perky Ida Lupino's torch song singing effort beginning with "Set 'em up Joe," and "Again." The soundtrack was marvelous.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A NOIR FAN MUST-SEE! March 2, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
As a noir collector, I have to tell you that this one is a must. Buy it for Ida Lupino's performance alone! The star of the show for me, though, is Widmark. While his role is no Tommy Udo (Kiss of Death - 1947 - DON'T MISS IT!), he sizzles, as always. Let's face it, aside from being a great actor, when he was young, the guy was a major hotty!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
The plot is basically a triangle -- Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark are both in love with lounge singer Ida Lupino. Widmark's character is well-off and owns the road house that his old pal Cornel Wilde manages for him. If Widmark can't win Lupino's heart, he's going to make sure Wilde doesn't get to have her. Just to add to the complications, another road house employee yearns for Wilde, but unlike Widmark, she's basically a good person.

Somehow black and white is the right medium for this film -- I think color would have detracted from the brooding atmosphere.

All in all, this movie stands the test of time well. Widmark puts in a great performance.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The two new additions to the Fox Film Noir series are really fun and interesting. Neither could be called strictly noir, but with lots of noirish elements, both films will reward with a first or second viewing. Road House (1948) was dubbed a "sordid slashing melodrama," by one critic, and has Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark in a love triangle dripping with lust, betrayal and violence, as well as Celeste Holm along for the ride. Widmark continues his slightly-off, mostly insane characterizations that started with Kiss Of Death, and Lupino plays a bar canary who warbles Mercer's "One for My Baby" with B-girl authority. Moontide (1942) also stars Lupino and is illuminated by the performance of the great French actor Jean Gabin. Deeply moody and atmospheric, with a sense of doom and fate playing over all of the action, the film, set on the docks of a Pacific seaside town, seems like a dream half remembered. Co-starring Jerome Cowan, Claude Rains and Thomas Mitchell, it's a strange---but very compelling---movie.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding performance by Ida Lupino January 6, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ida Lupino's acting and singing is a major reason that Road House is among the best of film noir. She has that character (Lily Stevens) DOWN and she is the perfect woman to play that character, who as one lounge patron said "She reminds me of the first woman that ever slapped my face!!".

She had the appearance of a person who had drank for years. She had seemingly aged prematurely and had a hard looking face (yet very attractive) - perfect for the brassy, world weary, very confident bar lounge singer she plays.

She is brought from Chicago to this far away club to perform for a week or so, and gets involved in a love triangle with the Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark characters.

This is the first movie in which we hear Ida's real singing voice. In previous movies her voice had been dubbed over by another singer. She does two songs: "Again" (which made it to number 2 on the charts shortly thereafter) and "One For My Baby (And One More For the Road)". That latter one is IMO one of the great singing performances in any movie, ever. Her appearance as a chain smoker and of a person who drank, together with her capturing a Bogart-like world-weariness make her absolutely perfect for this song. She sings it (and plays piano) with a sultry, smoky air, and in fact it's more almost like talking than singing. But it works. Her whole persona totally fits the jaded lyrics of that sad song. That performance is the highlight of the movie, IMO. The Celeste Holm character said it perfectly at the end of that performance: "She does more without a voice than anybody I ever heard!!"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very nice. Enjoyed it very much.
Published 1 month ago by Alyce Silva
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by anthony nappi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by bidibule
5.0 out of 5 stars Ida, Cornel, Richard and Celeste too.
One of my favorite movies. With 3 of my favorite Stars. Tough Ida, Hunky Cornel, Sadistic Richard and Sarcastic Celeste. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Patrick M. Luci
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Fox noir
In the 1940s, 20th Century Fox produced a splendid array of well-produced noirs, of which this is a fine example. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Eric O. Allstrom
5.0 out of 5 stars All time classic
With Ida Lupino and Richard Widmark this is truly one of the very best of black and white classics. Looking for more.
Published 8 months ago by ret11b
5.0 out of 5 stars High drama, excellent suspense
Excellent film noir nostalgia. My Dad loved Ida Lupino and her performance here as well as Widmark as the quintessential villain are classic and indelible. Read more
Published 11 months ago by M Naylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak script, flawed plot, unconvincing love interests
Ida Lupino plays Lily Stevens, an aloof, hard-bitten lounge singer from Chicago who is recruited by "Jefty" Robbins (Richard Widmark), a nightclub owner, to perform in his... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ron2BSure
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie was better than the remake
I came upon this movie by accident but when it arrived I think it was better than the remake but I liked all three.
Published 15 months ago by Stella C. Balobina
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Noir
Ida Lupino absolutely shines in this film as the fem-fatale with heart. I love her singing. The songs are great and her scratchy sultry voice is a stunner. Read more
Published 16 months ago by judy
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