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Joseph M. Newman
Jefty, owner of a roadhouse in a backwoods town, hires sultry, tough-talking torch singer Lily Stevens against the advice of his manager Pete Morgan. Jefty is smitten with Lily, who in turn exerts her charms on the more resistant Pete. When Pete finally falls for her and she turns down Jefty's marriage proposal, they must face Jefty's murderous jealousy and his twisted plots to "punish" the two. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Three of the people involved in this production - studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, director Jean Negulesco and star Ida Lupino - had previously worked for Warner Bros. In fact, despite the commercial success of his last Warners film, Johnny Belinda (1948), Negulesco had just been fired from Warners when Zanuck signed him to Fox and offered him 'Road House'. See more »
Now, baby, I'm not trying to rush you.
[Slaps his face]
See more »
Following up his sensational movie debut in Kiss of Death, Richard Widmark got another psychopathic role in Road House. His characterization of Jefty, the owner of a road house in the rural middle west near the Canadian border, is Tommy Udo once again, right down to the maniacal giggle. Good thing for Widmark he got out of that typecasting as soon as he could.
The actors have to be good here because the story as some real big holes in it. Richard Widmark owns the Road House and his World War II buddy Cornel Wilde manages it. Widmark on a trip to Chicago hires a singer, Ida Lupino at a good deal beyond the normal rate. Of course Widmark has other things on his mind for Lupino.
But it's Wilde that Lupino falls for and when they tell Widmark, he goes psycho on them, but in a coldblooded maniacal sort of way. He frames Wilde for embezzlement and then successfully pleads with the judge to suspend the sentence and commit Wilde on parole to Widmark's charge. The rest I won't say.
Celeste Holm is in this film and I'm not sure what her function is other than to be a witness for Wilde and Lupino in the end. But worse than that she's a musical performer who could have been a believable singer. Ida Lupino croaked her numbers out like a bullfrog. The woman, talented actress that she was, could not sing.
The song Again was introduced in Road House and if it could become a hit with Lupino's croaky singing of it, it must be a great song.
A key piece of evidence also turns up rather conveniently in the end to destroy Widmark's nefarious scheme. A piece of evidence that should have been destroyed months ago as a matter of course. I won't say more.
And I also cannot believe that Wilde would have agreed to the parole conditions. Where was his lawyer?
Despite all the holes in this plot, the characterizations of Wilde and Lupino caught in a psychotic's jealous rage ring true. And Richard Widmark was a psychotic for the ages.
Fans of the above players and I'm one of them should see this film. I wish these four had been given a better script.
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