7.3/10
2,079
46 user 25 critic

Road House (1948)

Passed | | Action, Drama, Film-Noir | 4 November 1948 (USA)
A night club owner becomes infatuated with a torch singer and frames his best friend/manager for embezzlement when the chanteuse falls in love with him.

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writers:

Edward Chodorov (screen play), Margaret Gruen (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A covert FBI agent infiltrates a ruthless gangster mob, but his life is at risk from a mysterious informant who funnels inside information to the hoodlums.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Mark Stevens, Richard Widmark, Lloyd Nolan
Black Angel (1946)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When Kirk Bennett is convicted of a singer's murder, his wife tries to prove him innocent...aided by the victim's ex-husband.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Police Lieut. Candella, longtime friend of the Rome family, walks a tightrope in the case of cop-killer Martin Rome.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Victor Mature, Richard Conte, Fred Clark
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Why is Inspector Ed Cornell trying to railroad Frankie Christopher for the murder of model Vicky Lynn?

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Stars: Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Carole Landis
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When 2 detectives steal $80,000 from a dead robber, one of them suffers from a guilty conscience which could lead to murder.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Ida Lupino, Steve Cochran, Howard Duff
The Big Knife (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Hollywood actor Charles Castle is pressured by his studio boss into a criminal cover-up to protect his valuable career.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Secretary tries to help her boss, who is framed for a murder.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

WW2 veteran Lucky Gagin arrives in a New Mexico border-town intent on revenging against mobster Frank Hugo but FBI agent Bill Retz, who also wants Hugo, tries to keep Gagin out of trouble.

Director: Robert Montgomery
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Thomas Gomez, Wanda Hendrix
Manhandled (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The secretary to a phony psychiatrist finds herself caught up in the murder of a patient's wife and realizes that her life is also in danger.

Director: Lewis R. Foster
Stars: Dan Duryea, Dorothy Lamour, Sterling Hayden
Kiss of Death (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray
Pitfall (1948)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Married insurance adjuster John Forbes falls for femme fatale Mona Stevens while her boyfriend is in jail and all suffer serious consequences as a result.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Starting with a violent prison break, clever, ruthless Ralph Cotter corrupts everyone around him.

Director: Gordon Douglas
Stars: James Cagney, Barbara Payton, Helena Carter
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ida Lupino ... Lily Stevens
Cornel Wilde ... Pete Morgan
Celeste Holm ... Susie Smith
Richard Widmark ... Jefferson T. 'Jefty' Robbins
O.Z. Whitehead ... Arthur
Robert Karnes ... Mike
George Beranger ... Lefty
Ian MacDonald ... Police Captain
Grandon Rhodes ... Judge
Edit

Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's nothing like a woman to come between men ! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark Love See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes in the roadhouse's bowling alley were shot at a real alley located near the studio. See more »

Goofs

Jefty and his friends set off to hunt moose after 7 am, in broad daylight. Moose hunters actually have to travel before dawn, as they have to be in place by first light. See more »

Quotes

Pete: Now, baby, I'm not trying to rush you.
Lily: [Slaps his face] Silly boy!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in This Means War (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)
(uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Sung by Ida Lupino
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Behind a white piano gouged with cigarette burns, Lupino proves her mettle
7 September 2004 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

'...and then by bus to a throaty restless obsessed temptress 'thrush' slouched in mortal danger atop a white piano, singing the blues and chain-smoking, somewhere in the long, dark, wet and winding night between Chicago and 'the coast.' – James McCourt, "Mawrdew Czgowchwz"

Jean Negulesco's Road House must have inspired that sentence (or rather fragment). With her voice shredded by Scotch and Luckies, Ida Lupino is the thrush, the canary, whose smoldering cigarettes leave a bar-code of burns scarring the smart paint of her white piano. She's been brought up from Chicago by Richard Widmark to lure paying customers into the cocktail lounge of his establishment – Jefty's Road House – up in the piney woods a few miles from the Canadian border. (On one side, it's a bowling alley – that kind of joint; the only game in town).

In the past, Widmark has been known to engage no-talents who strike his romantic fancy. So when Lupino arrives, Widmark's boyhood pal and now Man Friday Cornel Wilde, cruel to be kind, tries to send her packing. He fails ('Silly boy,' she scolds him after slapping his face). But Wilde was wrong; Lupino brings down the house at her debut, with a gravelly, sprechstimme rendition of the Mercer/Arlen 'It's A Quarter To Three.' ('She does more without a voice than anybody I've ever heard,' marvels Celeste Holm, another worker toiling under Widmark's thumb.)

Maybe it would have been better had she packed. Widmark assumes that Lupino's as mad about him as he about her and runs off to get a marriage license. But after starting off on the wrong foot, Wilde and Lupino find a grudging romance kindling between them, to Holm's chagrin – she assumed she was Wilde's girl. (The whole plot's based on unfounded assumptions.)

When Widmark stumbles upon the truth, he frames Wilde for stealing the week's take. And that's only the start of Widmark's delusional plot to redress the wrong he thinks been done him, to an extent that Lupino turns on him: 'And you know what else? Your mind's gone. You're crazy, Jefty. Crazy!' Since, in film noir, that's about the worse thing you can say to someone with a mad little glint in his eye (and demented giggles to match it), Widmark goes totally unhitched....

Like the following year's Beyond The Forest, Road House is an overheated melodrama set in the cool climate of hunting lodges and icy lakes where loons (not only the avian kind) call through the dusk. It's a pastoral backwater where routine passions build up to explosive force, without the many vents cities offer for release. (We see it in a drunken bear of a backwoodsman who comes violently onto Lupino, thinking her torch songs were sung not for a paycheck but expressly for him.)

Negulesco was working at the top of his game in Road House, as was Widmark (though we had seen his gleeful psycho before). With his constitutionally dour manner (maybe it's just his face), Wilde was not one to set celluloid aflame, but the part of victim fits him; Holm, alas, has to grapple with a thankless, ill-thought-out character (it's an Eve-Ardenish part that needs another splash of vinegar).

But Lupino gets one of her best roles, and runs with it. Scion of a British theatrical family whose roots go back to Renaissance Italy, she never received the star treatment or the prestige productions her talents deserved (she did, however, help to shatter the directorial glass ceiling). As Lily Stevens, world-weary chanteuse of a certain age, she stays the headliner in a dark, accomplished and entertaining movie. It's a late-show treasure that makes a television an appliance worth having.


32 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 46 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed