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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Q: "She's a cute singer, don't you think?" A: "If you like gravel"
**** is over-generous by any rational measure, but such a well-acted little film noir has to command respect, and since it also has a little bit of ambition above its station, **** it just about is.

The film has been described as a weepie-cum-thriller, but melodrama is a bit nearer the mark. We have here a love triangle - Richard Widmark's road house owner,...
Published on 17 July 2009 by Humpty Dumpty

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Road House
Pointless ordinary 40s nonsense...
Published 1 month ago by Hallau


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Q: "She's a cute singer, don't you think?" A: "If you like gravel", 17 July 2009
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Humpty Dumpty (Wall St, Upton Snodsbury) - See all my reviews
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**** is over-generous by any rational measure, but such a well-acted little film noir has to command respect, and since it also has a little bit of ambition above its station, **** it just about is.

The film has been described as a weepie-cum-thriller, but melodrama is a bit nearer the mark. We have here a love triangle - Richard Widmark's road house owner, Cornel Wilde's house manager and Ida Lupino's hired pianist/"singer" (her bullfrog voice bears as much resemblance to singing as does Rex Harrison's in My Fair Lady). A loves B who loves C, and big buddies A and C inevitably fall out, leading to a show-down. All simple enough, not to say unoriginal, except that the picture declines to settle comfortably into the cliche of all characters motivated by cynicism as the femme fatale works her wicked spell.

The absence of distracting sub-plots mean that the focus falls throughout on our trio plus Celeste Holm's cashier. Though Widmark's malevolence is signalled from pretty erly on, he's a bit more than a cardboard villain and they no simple injured lovers. The friendship between him and Wilde prevents them from settling matters, even when the law intervenes. There is a constant ambivalence in their relationship that rings true. Nor is Ida Lupino simply a victim; in the first half she's a feisty, tough cookie, experienced in fending off would-be lovers and envious women alike. She also has a vulnerability which lifts her character out of the mundane. It's a great pity that after halfway her part becomes underwritten and conventional; she takes a back seat as the alpha males slug it out, a diminished figure as the implausibilities grow.

The outdoor scenes away from the roadhouse are a rather clumsy mix of back-projection and backlot artifice, with the Fox tank featuring more than once, partly to show off Lupino's proto-bikini. But what makes the picture really watchable is the acting of her and Richard Widmark. He is typecast as a half-crazy villain at this early stage of his career, but he's never quite the same twice. His Nordic pale complexion and lopsided grin are seductively creepy. She acts her socks off in the first half, whether she's acting tough, playing ten-pin bowls like a blonde spider or seducing her man in tight white shorts, and it's strange that the script had her freewheeling in the second half.

No masterpiece, but considerable pleasure to be had from solid film-making and two fine actors.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor Susie!, 23 Mar. 2009
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Road House manager Pete (Cornell Wilde) falls in love with singer Lily (Ida Lupino) brought to entertain customers by Road House owner Jefty (Richard Widmark). However, Jefty has his own interest in Lily and intends to marry her. While Jefty is away getting a marriage license, Pete and Lily become involved and decide to go away together. Well, once Jefty discovers this, he is not happy and plans revenge against the pair and it's a good revenge, which leaves the pair only one real choice..........they make a run for it.......

Throughout the film, I felt a little sorry for Susie (Celeste Holm) as she is made out to be Pete's girlfriend but her feelings seem to be papered over. She gets a bum deal in this film. She even covers for her boyfriend's philandering with Lily once Jefty returns to claim Lily for his wife. There is some snappy dialogue between Susie and Lily and Lily and Pete and the most memorable line for me is delivered by Jefty on his entrance. He greets pal Pete with a cheeky delivery of the line "Hey, you son of a gun" on meeting Pete and Lily in the Road House office.

The cast do well with Richard Widmark being my favourite, despite being 4th billed. Ida Lupino sings a few songs with her gravelly voice and we have been pre-warned that she may not be much good at singing, so the outcome is not too bad. Overall, it's an interesting and enjoyable film with memorable scenes including every time Widmark appears and an interesting sparring between Lupino and Wilde while he is teaching her to bowl. You don't need to see a bedroom but you get the gist....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Love., 26 Feb. 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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Road House is directed by Jean Negulesco and adapted to screenplay by Edward Chodorov from a story by Margaret Gruen and Oscar Saul. It stars Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde, Celeste Holm and Richard Widmark. Music is by Cyril J. Mockridge and cinematography by Joseph LaShelle.

When Jefty Robbins (Widmark) brings new torch singer Lily Stevens (Lupino) to the Road House he owns, it causes friction between Jefty and his boyhood pal Pete Morgan (Wilde). So much so it will have dire consequences for some...

I guess this is a moose trap all around.

Love triangle noir that comes away from the city and out to the sticks, Road House rises above the clichéd storyline to become engrossing entertainment. Narrative stays straight and true, two pals from way back are divided by the appearance of a woman on the scene, it's going to end bad for someone and the audience knows this, and they know who it's going to be, which sadly nullifies the mystery element. But the characters are well drawn and well performed, with Negulesco (The Mask of Dimitrios) able to paper over the cracks without using pointless filler. The big rewards here come in Widmark's coiled spring performance and the script which is full of acid tongued barbs and sardonic observations.

The backdrop is most unusual in terms of genre conventions, the Road House of the title is an out of the way bar with a bowling alley out in back country Americana. This is a bar that reeks of moose hunting and forests, it's all very rustic and rural, with the fashions adorned by the principals reflecting their surroundings, but LaShelle's photography keeps us in the noir frame of mind with classic isolated lighting. There's also some musical numbers performed by Lupino, she has a husky voice that while it isn't exactly musical grace, it conjures up a feeling of too many cigarettes and bourbon, with a sadness befitting the mood of the songs, particularly where the standout "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)" is concerned.

Unusual at times and not as "drastic" as the source story hints it could have been, but very much one for the noir faithful to enjoy. 7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Nostalgi, 18 Mar. 2013
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I love film noir. This one of the best with Richard Widmark,
Top of the list is Night and the City.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best in show, 24 May 2014
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C. W. Hieatt (Cambridge England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Road House (Region 2) (DVD)
Superb: The most outstanding, most overlooked of its genre. Ida lupino's best, but this is a film without a central character. Negelusco's finest film. Not racy, but primarily for fifteen years plus.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Road House, 15 Mar. 2015
Pointless ordinary 40s nonsense...
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WOT, NO REGION 2 VERSION AVAILABLE??? SICK, MAN, SICK!!!, 23 July 2013
This review is from: Road House (Region 2) (DVD)
THIS IS THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY AND STILL THOSE WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER, ARE STILL PLAYING SICK GAMES WITH THIS REGION 1, REGION 2, REGION OUTER SPACE HOGWASH!! SHAME ON YOU IDIOTS! YOU ARE THE ONES WHO ARE LOSING BIG BUSINESS. WOT IDIOTS!!!
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Road House (Region 2)
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