7.2/10
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20 user 15 critic

Dying Room Only (1973)

A married couple are traveling on a deserted desert road at night. They stop at a diner and the husband goes to the men's room. He never returns and the wife begins to suspect serious foul ... See full summary »

Director:

Philip Leacock

Writers:

Richard Matheson (teleplay), Richard Matheson (short story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Cloris Leachman ... Jean Mitchell
Ross Martin ... Jim Cutler
Ned Beatty ... Tom King
Dana Elcar ... Sheriff
Louise Latham ... Vi
Dabney Coleman ... Bob Mitchell
Ron Feinberg ... Lou McDermott
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Storyline

A married couple are traveling on a deserted desert road at night. They stop at a diner and the husband goes to the men's room. He never returns and the wife begins to suspect serious foul play. Written by Sean Taylor <st52@cornell.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She's Alone. No One Believes Her. And There's No Way Out.


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La disparition See more »

Filming Locations:

San Diego, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aired as an installment of ABC's "Wide World of Mystery" series on Oct. 29, 1974. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Breakdown (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Matheson and Leachman rock it old school in this way-above-average TV classic
23 May 2011 | by bob_megSee all my reviews

Is Richard Matheson awesome or what? Who else could conceive of something so simple and sinister as a woman's husband disappearing in a men's room at a broken down café in the desert? The same guy who conceived of a monster truck stalking a beleaguered motorist to great effect in "Duel," and that's only a slight sample of the other legendary tales he's penned. His skill at deriving something so evil out of the ordinary is very comparable to Stephen King at his '70s peak with "Night Shift" and "Dying Room Only" is indicative of that prowess --- it still makes an impact on people I show it to today.

The great news is that this film is now widely available as part of the Warner Archives collection, remastered in widescreen, and though there's nothing but the film on the disc, it's a bargain at about $10.

The locals, played by Ross Martin and Ned Beatty are creepy and cruel, the motel night clerk is surly and obtuse. It's really all on Ms. Leachman to figure it out, and Chloris does a really fine job here: she transmits her urgency and controlled panic without making herself into a blithering, hysterical wreck. She's a strong heroine. Dabney Coleman is almost unrecognizable as her husband, here, he's so very young looking.

I've heard many comparisons to "Breakdown" but this film is really only similar in plot structure. Breakdown was an adrenaline fueled roller coaster ride that was definitely one of the better road thrillers ever produced. DRO is more a psychological head-game and a mystery, more suited to rainy evenings at home than crowded nights at the multiplex. Pick it up, before they remake and ruin it.


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