Road House (1948)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Film Noir, Melodrama  |   Release Date - Sep 22, 1948 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Ida Lupino commissioned the script for this Jean Negulesco noir, and she and Richard Widmark make this otherwise run-of-the-mill feature something of a cult item. Lupino is at her best as the tough, sexy torch singer who Widmark brings in to give some class to his bar/bowling alley stuck incongruously in the middle of deer country. The novel attempt to make the bowling alley an atmospheric environment sounds comic, but between Negulesco's mise-en-scéne and the camera work of Joseph LaShelle, it works better than one would think possible. Widmark is perfect as the psycho-in-the-making, and is so well-matched with Lupino that one wishes they had more scenes together. Wilde, who played a similar role in the noir classic Leave Her to Heaven, always seems to have walked into this genre by accident, and here, as the stolid stud, he's almost comically bored by the women who keep throwing themselves at him. For fans of bowling noir.