Road House (Fox Film Noir)
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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
- 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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!!"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wish I knew who Ida Lupino (and her amazing career) when I happened upon this film on late-night cable. This film is amazing, suspenseful, entertaining, and brilliant! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Scott Kjeer
Very fast delivery--thank you, Amazon. Beautiful film quality and sound. Four first-rate actors turn out virtuoso performances in this drama. Read morePublished 6 months ago by scooterlover
A classic Film Noir if ever there was one. Who is nastier than Richard Widmark? Cornel Wilde is all but forgotten, and underrated. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robert Strom
Old Film Noir from the 1940's. For film buffs it is great for everyone else it is just OK.Published 12 months ago by Robert G. Kelly
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